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Full text of "Old Cape Cod The Land The Men The Sea"

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OLD CAPE COD 

THE LAND: THE MEN: THE SEA 





THE OLD FIGUREHEAD 



OLD CAPE COD 

THE LAND : THE MEN 

THE SEA 



BY 

MARY ROGERS BANGS 




BOSTON AND NEW YORK 

HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY 

fldfte ditaec^ibe 

1920 



COPYRIGHT, I920, BY MARY ROGERS BANGS 
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 



TO 

S. A. B. 



CONTENTS 

I. THE LAND 1 

II. THE OLD COLONY 19 

III. THE TOWNS 56 

IV. THE FRENCH WARS 97 
V. THE ENGLISH WARS 118 

VI. THEOLOGY AND WHALING 158 

VII. STORMS AND PIRATES 176 

VIII. OLD SEA WAYS 203 

IX. THE CAPTAINS 221 

X. THE COUNTY 259 

XI. GENIUS Loci 91 



ILLUSTRATIONS 

THE OLD FIGUREHEAD Frontispiece 

THE SHORE ROAD 6 

A FIRST COMER 58 

THE CHEEK 11 

THE FISH-HOUSE 164 

THE CAP'N'S 222 

THE MEADOWS 270 

THE PASTURE BARS 294 



The end-payer maps are (1) a modern map of Cape Cod and 
(2) a facsimile of a part of Captain Cyprian Southack's 
map (see page 192) 



OLD CAPE COD 


* 

CHAPTER I 
THE LAND 



CAPE COD had its Age of Romance in a half -century 
best placed, perhaps, in the years between 1790 and 
1840. Then certainly the picture of it was charming: 
a picture unblemished by the paper-box architecture 
of a later period, or the alien hotels, the villas, bun- 
galows, and portable-houses of to-day. Then roads, 
with no necessity laid upon them to be the servants 
of speed, were honest native sand, and, gleaming like 
yellow ribbons across hills and meadows, linked farm 
to farm and went trailing on to the next township 
where houses nestled behind their lilacs in a sheltered 
hollow, or stood four-square on the village street. As 
if by instinct, the early settlers from Saugus and 
Scituate and Plymouth, accustomed as their youth 
had been to the harmonies of Old England, hit upon 
a style of building best suited to the genius of the 
country. And if, consciously, they only planned for 
comfort and used the materials at hand, the result, 
inevitably, bears the test of fitness to environment. 
Their low slant-roof wooden houses were set with 
backs to the north wind and a singularly wide-awake 



2 OLD CAPE COD 

aspect to the south. The watershed of the roof some- 
times ran with an equal slope to the eaves of the 
ground floor; but as frequently, yielding barely room 
for pantry and storeroom at the north, it lifted in 
front to a second story. And in either case the "upper 
chambers," with irregular ceilings and windows look- 
ing to the sunrise and sunset, were packed tautly into 
the apex of the roof. Ornament centred in the front 
door a symbol, one might think, of the determina- 
tion to preserve, in the enforced privations of pioneer 
life, the gentle ceremonials of their past; and however 
small or remote, there is not such a house to be re- 
called that does not thus offer its dignified best for the 
occasions of hospitality. The doors are often beau- 
tiful in themselves: their panels of true proportions 
framed in delicately moulded pilasters with a line of 
glazing to light the tiny hall; frequently a pediment 
above protects the whole from the dripping of eaves. 
And before paint was used to mask the wood, the 
whole structure, played upon by sun and storm, wore 
to a tone of silver-gray that made a house as famil- 
iar to the soil as a lichen-covered rock. The square 
Georgian mansions came later, with the prosperity of 
reviving trade after the Revolution. They were built 
to a smaller scale than those of Newburyport or Salem t 
or Portsmouth; and the Cape Cod aristocrat seems to 
have been content with two stories to live in and a 
vast garret above to store superfluous treasure. There 
was not a jarring note in the scene; and the old houses, 
set in neighborly fashion on the village street or ap- 
proached by a winding cart-track "across the fields/* 



THE LAND 3 

with garden and orchard merging into pasture, suit 
'to perfection the gentle undulating configuration of 
the land, which is never level, but swells into uplands 
that recall the memory of Scotch moors or some 
denuded English "Forest/' and sinks away into 
meadow, or marsh, or hollows overflowing with the 
warm perfumes of blossomy growth. 

And everywhere there is color: in hill and lowland, 
in circles of swampy bush, in salt creek and dune. 
Even the motorist, projected through the country 
with a slip, a flash, a change too swift for the eye to 
note its intimate charm, is caught by the cheerful- 
ness of green and blue and dazzling white, and more 
blue, the blue of salt water, clasping all. One may con- 
cede at once that it is a country adapted to the pleas- 
ure of summer folk, if they be not set upon taking 
their pleasure too seriously where there are neither 
mountains to climb nor big game to hunt, and the soft 
air does not invite to endeavor. But the wind sweeps 
clean from ocean to bay and picks up in passing resin- 
ous scents of the pine; sands reflect magic lights of 
rose and pearl; the townships to the north, as Robert 
Cushman reported of Plymouth, are "full of dales 
and meadow ground as England is"; and the long 
sweep of the outer shore, south, east, and north, is 
extraordinarily varied and broken; deep inlets cool 
the air of the warmest months, islands that yesterday 
were not and to-morrow may be destroyed by the 
tides interlace the coast with shallow lagoons where 
children sail their boats, bluffs carry the eye out to 
the clear distances of the ocean, and there are har- 



4 OLD CAPE COD 

bors where, on a misty day, buildings loom like "tow- 
er'd Camelot." Tides rise and fall in the salt rivers 
that wander through marshlands to give changing 
beauty to the scene; lakes tempt the fisherman; and 
for more ambitious sport one may put to sea and 
return at night, whether lucky or not, with the fine 
philosophy engendered by a ravenous appetite and 
the sure prospect of excellent food to stay it. 

But perhaps the ultimate charm of the Cape is that, 
like a child, it is small enough to be loved. For the 
native-born, returning here in middle age, there is the 
delight of coming back to little things that memory 
had held as stupendous: a dim foreign township that 
used to be reached in a day's journey with "carry- 
all and pair " is only five miles distant by the Lower 
Road; the Great Square proves to be within the swing 
of an hour's stroll; the "cap'nV a modest mid- Vic- 
torian mansion with library and drawing-room that 
had the remembered vista of Versailles. Yet, in their 
degree, this charm is free to the stranger. The Cape 
has a whimsical and endearing smallness: its greatest 
amplitude can boast but a few miles; and the most 
tortuous wood road that promised a day's excursion 
through an uncharted wilderness will soon show you, 
from some gentle eminence, the true north to be 
reckoned by the curve of the bay. 

It is such a jaunt inland to the woods that should 
invite the traveller, in any season, to forsake his 
motor-car for a sober "horse and team" as the bet- 
ter equipment to circumvent obstacles of unbridged 
stream or fallen tree. If even as he threads the 



THE LAND 5 

crowded village street he can occupy his imagination 
with the leisurely past that matches the rate of his 
progress, his pleasure will be the greater; and the 
effort prove not too difficult when, as of old, poplar 
and willows shade the road and elms droop impar- 
tially over gray homesteads and the passer-by, or 
behind decent screens of shrub and hedge houses 
blink with a modest air of being sufficient for all 
desirable comfort. Farther afield wayside tangles of 
wild rose and cherry, and scented racemes of the 
locust-tree, in their season, make the air sweet; or 
in a later month, bright companies of orange lilies 
are drawn up at attention by the rail fence that has 
worn to a beautiful silvery hue, and Joe Pyeweed 
nods at thoroughwort in the swamp. Fields of warm- 
toned grass roll down to the blur of willows in a 
meadow; in pastures intersected by crumbling stone 
walls stalwart purple and white blooms rout the 
fading mists of succory. And there on the outskirts 
of the village, hills are dressed in homespun woven 
of sparse grasses and crisp gray moss buttoned down 
with clumps of bayberry and juniper, adorned in 
summer by the filmy lace of the indigo-plant, and in 
autumn with a lovely cloak of dwarf goldenrod and 
asters. 

Far to the north, now, lies the silver shield of the 
bay; inland, beyond the hills, deep-set in wooded 
banks is a glint of blue water, and near at hand a 
farm guarded by the spear of a pine that tops the 
roof twice over, The road dips sharply to a brook that 
bubbles along with a force that once turned mill 



6 OLD CAPE COD 

wheels, and rises again in a graceful curve to a hill 
where stands a weather-beaten house as if a-tiptoe to 
survey in the meadows of the farther view the secret 
beauties of a lake. A few miles more, and there, among 
the wooded uplands that make the watershed be- 
tween sea and bay, lies a network of interlacing 
roads: "blind roads" where scrub oaks and pines lash 
the traveller and the horse proceeds with a careful 
foot among the springes of a vigorous younger growth; 
narrow tracks that lead to the cul-de-sac of a cran- 
berry swamp or a woodlot where the axe has been 
busy with its work of denudation; or long arched 
aisles of green, with here a little bay a-dance with 
ferns washing out into the woodland, and there a 
vista of hills opening through mullioned windows 
built by the straight trunks of the pines. And here 
are the great ponds with bold sandy bluffs and 
curves that cheat us into believing them larger than 
they are. They are pictures of security as their 
waves sparkle in the sun and break idly on the 
miniature beaches, but quick squalls may come cut- 
ting down from the hills to lash them into a sudden 
ugly fury that bodes ill for any stray craft plying 
these waters, where, even to-day, there is never 
traffic sufficient to disturb the pleasing atmosphere 
of solitude. On a wooded shore there may be a shoot- 
ing-lodge or a bungalow, a pier with a few boats 
bobbing at anchor on one lake or another; but for the 
most part they seem more remote from man than 
when Indians followed the forest trails and beached 
their canoes under a shelving bank. 




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THE LAND 

ii 

THERE are riches enough for all who love the land: for 
those who come to play, and those who come chiefly to 
refresh their memory of the past; for those of the fine 
old stock who live here year in and year out on 
the modest competence inherited from seafaring an- 
cestors; and those who fish, or farm, or engage in the 
important modern industry of ministering to the 
"summer people/' The quality of the riches, as in 
any community, may vary with the individual. But 
save among a negligible few of the idlers where 
there is a sinister strain of vice in a "petered-out" 
neighborhood, or a foolish and incongruous display 
among some visitors there is a recognizable inherit- 
ance from the men who settled the land: an atmos- 
phere of simplicity, a sturdy instinct of judging one 
for what he is rather than for what he has, a predi- 
lection for healthy pleasures. It is folk of this kind 
whom the Cape attracts plain people, if you will; 
and it is perhaps significant that potent as the land 
might be to stimulate the imagination, it is only the 
beguiling "foreign" atmosphere of Provincetown 
that has fostered anything like a School. 

Cape Cod: a, sandbar, one may have the more ex- 
cuse for judging, as the land lifts to the wind-swept 
plains of Truro, There is a change in the aspect of the 
Cape as it turns due north to brace itself against the 
thunderous approach of the Atlantic. Straight and 
defiant, it holds its own to the Clay Pounds at High- 
land Light, the Indians' Tashmuit, and then, little 



8 OLD CAPE COD 

by little, the ocean pushes it back and folds it over in 
the graceful curve of the tip at Provincetown. From 
the frayed edge of Chatham on the south shore 
broken as it is into deep bays with outer shoals and 
beaches that may alter their whole contour in a win- 
ter's storms and on the north the snug village of 
Orleans where the by-roads are the prettiest, we en- 
ter upon a new country. It may be remarked in pass- 
ing that Orleans offers something of martial interest 
to the traveller there: for at Rock Harbor on the bay 
was fought the famous Battle of Orleans, an engage- 
ment of 1812; and at Nauset Harbor, in the Great 
War, a German submarine, with some idea, appar- 
ently, of defeating a tow of empty coal barges, 
planted a stray shot on the sandbar at its mouth to 
the considerable alarm of cottagers in the vicinity. 

At Nauset Beach we look out over the ocean, and 
turning, see behind us the Harbor that lies there as if 
bent upon offering every variety of inlet bay, la- 
goon, cove, and salt river threading the marshes 
that may be crowded into a small compass of miles. 
In its progress it all but meets the equally erratic 
inlets of Chatham, and also the waters' of Cape Cod 
Bay, with the result that any breeze there is from the 
sea. To the south stretches the Beach, a low straight 
wall of sand between Harbor and ocean, moulded by 
the Atlantic, worried by its storms, yet somehow 
withstanding the impact, and linking up at the sharp 
apex of Chatham with the sands of Monomoy that, 
again, are in line with Nantucket Shoals and the 
Island. It v needs a wary seaman to know the safe 



THE LAND 9 

entrance to Vineyard Sound. To the north the shore 
rises steadily to the great bluffs at Highland Light 
the Norsemen's Gleaming Strands, a name best ap- 
preciated by the seafarer proceeding, on a fair morn- 
ing, to the port of Boston, when the hours spent 
in running by that line of golden cliffs may be the 
pleasantest of his voyage. And wherever one may 
penetrate to the coast unless one has the; enter- 
prise of Thoreau to tramp along shore, he must return 
to a town and take the next road eastward there is 
always a difference in the scene. Perhaps at no point 
is it more lovely than at Wellfleet, where the bluffs 
curve gently to a promontory and the surf, touched by 
a stray shaft of sunlight, breaks into crystal and jade. 
In and out, they trend away again to the north; and 
the sea at our feet, forward flow and backward clutch, 
even on a cold day of spring sounds the whole gamut 
of blue, light, dark, bewilderingly mingled, out to 
the intense purple of our farthest reach of vision 
literally, the Purple Sea. There is little break in the 
line of bluffs, but sometimes one of the valleys, that 
now begin to cut transversely across the Cape, per- 
sists to the coast; and one of the prettiest drives is 
to Gaboon's Hollow by way of a typical Cape Cod 
wood-road, winding up hill and down, with vistas 
of blue ponds glinting through the trees. The road 
debouches on dunes, covered with a low, shrubby 
growth; and everywhere there has been an amazing 
quantity of the wild cranberry covering acre after 
acre with its glossy green mat of leaves. The land 
billows down to the water's edge, yielding flash- 



10 OLD CAPE COD 

ing glimpses of blue water long before we reach it, 
and rises then on either hand into deeply indented 
cliffs. 

The country, as we follow the main road inland 
once more, swells into rounded hills that seem under 
bonds to crowd as many of their company as possible 
into the narrow confines between sea arid bay. The 
deep valleys among them conceal many snug home- 
steads built there by the First Comers; and the atmos- 
phere is indescribably pure blending, by the winds that 
always blow, the bracing qualities natural to ocean and 
upland. It is easy to share the enthusiasm of a physi- 
cian travelling this way who exclaimed: "It's the best 
air in North America/' The hills now merge into high 
moors that narrow to the Clay Pounds where High- 
land Light finds a firm foundation. One overlooks 
both sea and bay and walks poised aloft as on a roof- 
tree, Thoreau is master there, and has written dis- 
cursively of flora and birds and humans, and, with 
the wonder appropriate to an inlander, of the sea. In 
truth "a man may stand there and put all America 
behind him." As for the name, a triangular plot of 
some ten acres composed of a blue clay cuts trans- 
versely through the sand; "pounds" is variously ex- 
plained as a corruption of ponds or as suggested by 
the pounding of the surf. The land slopes up from the 
inner bay to the great shining bluffs that are singu- 
larly bold and picturesque, with escarpment and over- 
hang, bastion and turret built by their architect, the 
sea. Below them on calm days the polished surface of 
the Atlantic breaks into foam on the ivory beaches. 



THE LAND 11 

But in winter there is a different story of savage surf 
and an ocean that flings up its spume near two hun- 
dred feet to the starved grass of the upland. Such 
clamor is unbelievable in the pearly haze of summer; 
but even then an infrequent nor'easter may whip the 
Atlantic into a hungry rage as if to send it leaping 
over the puny barrier that divides the outer uproar 
from the gray dogs of the bay that are showing their 
teeth to the gale. 

Provincetown is a story in itself. The village, with 
its ingredients of old Cape Cod and a large propor- 
tion of handsome, gentle-mannered folk from the 
East Atlantic Islands, is curled comfortably about the 
edge of its harbor. It has been said that Provincetown 
has the "privilege of turning to look at itself like a 
happy child who has donned a long train/' and there 
is an evening picture of the "circlet of lights with a 
background of slender spires and hills, a friendly 
beacon shining over the narrow spit of land at Wood 
End." Picturesque and picturesque: one wears the 
words threadbare picturesque in summer, with 
the flicker of shadow and sun, sharp-cut, exotic, 
the brightly dressed folk thronging the streets or 
hailing one another from the windows above; pic- 
turesque, with a difference, in the less exciting at- 
mosphere of winter when the town is comfortably 
full of its own people busy about their affairs, which 
more often than not means preparing for the har- 
vest that summer is to bring them. The harbor is a 
piqture at high tide or low, with the boats anchored 
in the roadstead or moored to the wharves; or the 



12 OLD CAPE COD 

sun slanting across the sandflats where a dory is 
stranded by the tide, and its master, dark-ringletted, 
slouch-hatted, a red kerchief knotted at his throat, a 
red flower in his shirt, strides shorewards with his 
catch dripping in its creel. The fish-wharves make 
a painter's fingers itch to be at work, and many are 
those who respond to the impulse. No small part 
of the vivacity of the summer scene is furnished by 
the artists and their easels and their colors artists 
who express what they see after a method that 
would horrify the ladies of the earlier era that is our 
particular affair. 

The soil is sand, and it is said that the gardens of 
the tpwn were imported by, returning shipmasters 
who, in more fertile regions, steved their holds with 
loam for ballast and dumped it in their own front 
yards. However that may be, the little gardens are as 
pretty as in any English village; a vista harborwards 
through bright plantations of hollyhock is something 
to remember. And there are many trees sheltering 
the houses and yards: silver abeles, and elms, and 
willows, the old willows "Way up along." The 
scene to-day is perhaps unduly dominated by the 
Monument, which with time may develop a closer 
familiarity with its environment. Springing from clus- 
tering trees on a low eminence above the town, grace- 
ful in itself, it is as much a memorial to the indef atiga* 
ble will of one of the last of the deep-water captains 
as to his forbears, the Pilgrims. In season and out he 
worked for its accomplishment, with the result that a 
colossal Sienese bell-tower, supplementing as it were 



THE LAND 13 

the enterprise of Columbus, the Genoan, pins firmly 
in place the sands of Cape Cod. 

The village is bounded by wooded hills, and a drive 
oceanward brings us to the dunes where the State, 
year after year, has waged war with the drifting sand 
of its Province Lands. Life-saving stations and bea- 
cons are set at short intervals, and are needed, on this 
shore, and out there lie the great shoals of the Peaked 
Hill Bar, the cruellest of all the coast, where ship 
after ship has piled her bones, and men by the hun- 
dred have gone to their death. To the eye, in a crisp 
north wind, they present only lines of vivid jade- 
green water set in the wide field of blue; and here sea 
and shore give such promise of variety as makes one 
long to watch the seasons through in sun and storm 
and shrouding mists. The dunes that are no other 
color than that of sand, ever responsive to the chang- 
ing mood of the atmosphere, are covered now and then 
by carpets of growth that run from dull green to the 
purple of winter; and they and the bluffs beyond them 
are no more constant in aspect than their neighbor 
the sea. Far from depressing the spirit, they stim- 
ulate keen anticipation of what the hour shall bring 
forth and a sense that whatever its fruit one shall 
be great enough to share it. Of all the places one has 
seen here it is most fitting that man should dare to 
be free. 

ni 

FROM the slender tip of Champlain's Cap Blanc to 
Wareham one is never out of sight of water: salt here 



14 OLD CAPE COD 

and salt there, ocean and inlet and bay; and the great 
ponds of the uplands, or deep in its swampy covert 
a lake dropped from the jewelled chain among the 
hills. In the towns nearer the mainland are creeks 
and brooks and tiny runlets, flooded cranberry 
swamps, a ditch choked with the lush growth it nour- 
ishes; or near the beach a peat bog may wink un- 
expectedly from its bosky rim where a colony of 
night heron have nested to be near their feeding- 
ground in the bay. And when the tide is at ebb they 
and the seagulls wheel out there in airy platoons that 
manoeuvre as if to catch the light on their ermine or 
sleek surtouts of gray. On the drying sands the gulls 
teeter about like high-heeled ladies on an esplanade 
until a stranded minnow changes the play and they 
pounce and cuff and scream like boys greedy for a 
penny. There are rich harvests for the hungry on these 
wide reaches of the sandflats, and even a glutton bird 
could gorge his fill upon the prey entrapped in the 
fish-weirs that dot the inner coast. 

There, at one point, the tide marches out a long 
mile to the Great Bar and back again, by appointed 
channels, unhurrying, punctual to the minute, to 
keep its tryst with the shore. Sailors, unless they have 
a care to the time, are likely to be "hung up" on the 
Bar; but for one ashore who looks out to the white 
line of breaking foam, every moment of the ebb and 
turn has its special beauty. In bright days the shoal- 
ing waters show a lovely interlacement of greens and 
blue; but when the sky is shrouded in gray, fold upon 
fold, and the sun, invisible, steps softly westward, 



THE LAND 15 

their surface is like burnished ^metal, although a 
painter's eye would discern there a pastel of mauves 
and pink and blue and a whole chromatic scale of 
green. White sandflats, disclosed by the ebb, are 
carved in whorls like a shell by the hand of the tide. 
Inshore plumy grasses fringe them; here and there in- 
finitesimal forms of life stain them amethyst or green* 
But the wide sweep of them responds to some subtile 
quality in the day, and they are plains of pearl where 
cloudy shadows drift, or, in certain golden hours, they 
burn with color like some jewelled marquetry of the 
East. A flaming sunset walks them with feet of blood. 
And day after day they, or the waters above them, 
surprise us with some new sweet diversity. 

A scarf of gray tops the sand bluffs of the opposite 
shore, and when the land looms, miragelike, scat- 
tered villages appear; or on certain clear evenings 
we may catch the twinkle of friendly lights. And in 
summer days when the languid creeks threading the 
marshlands add a brighter blue to the picture that 
throbs in the sun water and sky and the dazzling 
collar of sand that yokes land and sea the bay, 
seeming all but landlocked in its honey-colored bluffs, 
deceives us with a look of inland waters and lies as 
softly there as Long Pond among the hills. Above the 
beaches, now and again, stand groves of pines, homely 
thurifers that incense the breeze as it passes. And 
where the line of shore dips to a lowland, the salt 
marshes, with their exquisite adjustment to the sea- 
son, are a treasury of beauty rich greens flush- 
ing and dying to the bronze, studded with haycocks 



16 OLD CAPE COD 

like the bosses of an ancient shield, that challenges 
encroaching autumn tides. 

Winter drains the scene of color, but salt winds 
cheat the lower temperatures of their rigor, and it is a 
hard season when snow lies in the meadows through 
consecutive weeks. Then there are days of brave sun- 
light when whitecaps" feather over the surface of the 
bay, and ice-cakes churn in with the tide and pile up 
like opals on the beach: days when the air is wine- 
clear, and the land is dressed in its best of warm 
russet brown, and hoofs strike the frozen roads with 
the resonance of Piccadilly pavements. Then sunset 
jewels woodland interstices with mellow cathedral 
light; high on a bluff above the crystal plane of a 
lake regiments of militant pines salute the dying day; 
and up in the south, whefr night hangs the stars low, 
Orion will be calling his dogs for the hunting. But 
more beautiful are the gray days in winter when 
earth meets heaven with the justly modulated values 
of a Japanese print, and the hills, clothed in the soft 
fur of leafless woods, .crouch under a pale sky; when 
in swamps the lances of dead reeds clash, and by a 
stagnant pool stands a cluster of brown cat-tails like 
candles that have lighted some past banquet of the 
year. 

In spring, long before the tardy oaks unsheathe 
their foliage, the sudden scarlet of swamp maple 
flames in a hollow, and we are off to the woods to hunt 
the stout fresh leaves which betray hiding-places of 
the arbutus, the mayflower, under the waste of a dead 
year. Near by, wintergreen in sturdy companies 



THE LAND 17 

shoulders the red berries that have eluded hungry 
winter birds, and graceful runnels of wild cranberry 
flow through the open spaces. Here pretty colonies of 
windflowers will soon be swinging their bells, ladies'- 
slipper and Jack-in-the-pulpit dispute the season's 
clemency; and when summer brings red lilies to sur- 
prise the eye in some green chamber of the wood, our 
journey should end at the beach of an inland lake 
where spicy sabbatia sways delicately in the warm air 
and genesta grows on the bank. 

From spring around to winter, the months are 
packed with flowers roadside beauties, shy little 
creatures of the fields, waxen Indian-pipes in the pine 
groves; even on the dunes are flowering mosses, the 
yellow lace of the poverty-grass, the pretty gray vel- 
vet leaf of "dusty-miller," pink lupin, wild grapes 
and roses crowding a secret hollow where the soil is 
enriched, perhaps, by an ancient shell-heap of the 
Indians. And among the depressions of the hills are 
swamps where a lovely progression, exquisitely dis- 
posed as if by conscious art, walks through the year. 
Color dies hard in these sheltered nooks, and hardly 
is dun winter lord of all, with stripped bushes hud- 
dling like sheep in the hollow, than spring breaks his 
rule and 

** Along an edge of marshy ground 
The shad-bush enters like a bride." 

Again the march begins: huckleberry, Clethra, honey- 
suckle, the dull smear of Joe Pyeweed, tl^ white 
web of elderberry blossoms turning to fruity umbels 
that promise homely brews, swinging goldenrod and 



18 OLD CAPE COD 

feather-grass, the decorative intent of 'cat-tails that, 
with certain engaging brown velvet buttons nodding 
on their stems in a swamp and the firm coral of alder- 
berries, brings us around to winter again. 

And there are choristers a-plenty : the remote sweet 
piping of hylas piercing the velvet darkness of a night 
in spring, the melodious booming of bull-frogs, the 
challenge of Bob White; and all the dear homely New 
England birds, twittering, chirping, chattering, pour- 
ing out their hearts in song as they swing with the 
trees that the wind sweeps into endless motion. And 
in summer and winter, from north, south, east, or 
west, the wind brings us news from the sea: the 
savor of salt, gray billows of cloud and fog, clear 
stark bright days following one another through a 
season. The southwest gales of summer beat down 
ripe grasses in the field and feather willow and poplar 
with silver; the great autumn gales go trumpeting 
through the land; the nor'easter sends surf thundering 
on the outer shore; and there are the soft moist 
winds that relax the high- wrought tension of humans, 
and melt the rigors of winter. 

The free winds, and contour, sound, color: with 
nothing superfluous, yet satisfying and ever present. 
And from flowers and fruit and woodland and the 
sharp tang of the sea there is distilled a draught cor- 
rective of morbid humors and the wandering will, 
a stanch pledge of sobriety. 



CHAPTER H 

THE OLD COLONY 

I 

IT is a welcoming country, and easily enough some of 
the Pilgrims, after they had established their settle- 
ment at Plymouth, returned to the sandy shores, the 
woods and meadows that had first offered them the 
possibility of home. They must have had a peculiar 
sentiment for the place: for here began their adven- 
ture in the great free country of the wilderness, and 
the chronicles of Bradford and Winslow show an in- 
genuous pleasure in the recital of it. They were for the 
most part yeomen and farmers, exiles from the pretty 
valley of the Trent, who for some eleven years had 
lived restricted in small Dutch cities; and for sixty- 
seven days all of them, yeomen and artisans, men, 
women, and children, many more than the Mayflower 
could well accommodate, had been buffetted about 
the Atlantic by autumn gales. Driven out of their 
calculated course to the southward, they made their 
landfall at Cape Cod, "the which being certainly 
known to be it," no wonder that they were "not a 
little joyful." "Being thus arrived in a good harbor 
and brought safe to land," writes William Bradford, 
"they fell upon their knees and blessed ~ye God of 
Heaven, who had brought them over ye vast and fu- 
rious ocean, and delivered them from all ye periles 



20 OLD CAPE COD 

and miseries thereof, againe to set their f eete on ye 
firme and stable earth, their proper elemente." 

Nor was it a country unknown to them. Since 
Cabot's voyage of discovery more than a hundred 
years earlier, the whole coast from Cape Breton to 
the Hudson had been increasingly visited by French 
and English seamen who were attracted chiefly by 
the rich fishing-grounds. It is even said that the great 
Drake was the first Englishman to set foot in New 
England, and that it was upon Cape Cod he landed. 
There are stories of ancient adventurers voyaging, 
as it might be, to the rhythm of Masefield's Galley- 
Rowers: 

"... bound sunset-wards, not knowing, 

Over the whale's way miles and miles, 
Going to Vine-Land, haply going 
To the Bright Beach of the Blessed Isles. * 

"In the wind's teeth and the spray's stinging 

Westward and outward forth we go, 
Knowing not whither nor why, but singing 
An old old oar-song as we row " 

Madoc of Wales, Saint Brendan the Irishman, Ice- 
landers, Phoenicians even; and, more certainly, a 
company of Norsemen who set up a wrecked boat on 
the Cape Cod bluffs, the Long Beaches, to guide the 
landfall of later visitors to their Keel Cape. 

French, Dutch, Spanish, English, all had their 
names for the Cape, but in 1602, Bartholomew Gos- 
nold, examining the coast of New England with a view 
to colonization, was to give it the predestined and 



THE OLD COLONY 21 

only right name: "Cape Cod/' Making across Massa- 
chusetts Bay "with a fresh gale of wind/' writes his 
chronicler, "in the morning we found ourselves em- 
bayed with a mightie headland" with "a white 
sandie and very bolde shore," where, landing, they 
met an Indian "of proper stature, and of a pleasing 
countenance; and after some familiaritie with him, 
we left him at the seaside and returned to our ship." 
Another scribe of the party remarks that the Indian 
had plates of copper hanging from his ears and 
"shewed willingness to help us in our occasions." 
"From this place, we sailed round about this head- 
land, almost all the points of the compass," and so on 
to Cuttyhunk, "amongst many faire Islands." But 
the significant point for us is that they "pestered" 
their ship so with cod-fish that they threw numbers 
of them overboard, and thereupon named the land 
Cape Cod. 

In 1604, and for several years thereafter, Champlain 
was much upon the New England coast, helping 
Du Monts in a colonizing scheme under a charter of 
Henri Quatre; had they succeeded, New France would 
have reached Long Island Sound. Champlain landed 
at Barnstable and named the harbor "Port aux Huis- 
tres," " for the many good oysters there." He judged, 
also, that it would have been "an excellent place to 
erect buildings and lay the foundations of a state, if 
the harbor were somewhat deeper and the entrance 
safer." The tip of the Cape he called "Cap Blanc," 
the treacherous shoals at the elbow "Mallebarre," 
and at Chatham he was like to have been swamped 



22 OLD CAPE COD 

in the shoals had the Indians not dragged his boats 
over into the harbor "Port Fortune" he called 
it. But it held no good fortune for him: for his men 
quarrelled with their rescuers, and after two of them 
had been killed, he sailed away. Champlain, a sci- 
entific man, the king's geographer, wrote interest- 
ingly of the savages, their appearance, customs, agri- 
culture, dwellings, and weighed the advantages of 
colonization there, but French the land was not 
to be. 

After Gosnold came several Englishmen, Martin 
Pring among them, searching for sassafras, which 
he knew was to be found in sandy soil, and was then 
much esteemed in pharmacy as of "sovereigne vertue 
against the Plague and many other Maladies." Pring 
coasted along to Plymouth, where at last he found 
"sufficient quantitie" of his sassafras, and camped 
for several months. There one of his company played 
the "gitterne" to the joy of the savages who danced 
about him "twentie in a Ring, . . . singing lo la lo la 
la and him that first brake the ring the rest would 
knocke and cry out upon." Henry Hudson spent a 
night off the Cape and had some difficulty with shoals 
and tides and mists; but he testified that "the land is 
very sweet," and some of his men brought away wild 
grapes and roses; as did also Edward Braunde, who 
hoped to discover "sertayne perell which is told by 
the Sauvages to be there,"and found near Race Point, 
where he landed, only some "goodly grapes and Rose- 
Trees." It should be noted that as Hudson cruised 
thereabouts, Thomas Hilles and Robert Rayney of 



THE OLD COLONY 23 

his crew saw "the mermaid. 55 And in 1614 Captain 
John Smith set sail for these shores to look for whales 
and gold-mines, failing which they would take "Fish 
and Furres/ 5 as the event proved to an amount of 
some fifteen hundred pounds. Smith, with eight 
men in an open boat, explored and charted the 
coast and dedicated his map to Prince Charles, with 
the request that he change "the barbarous names" 
thereon. "As posteritie might say," writes Smith, 
"Prince Charles was their godfather/ 5 New Eng- 
land, the river Charles, Plymouth retain the royal 
nomenclature. But his Stuart Bay and Cape James 
are still Cape Cod and Cape Cod Bay, and Milford 
Haven is Provincetown Harbor. Cape Cod, "a name, 
I suppose, it will never lose," said Cotton Mather, 
"till the shoals of codfish be seen swimming on the 
highest hills. 5 * "This Cape/ 9 wrote Smith, "is made 
by the maine Sea on the one side, and a great Bay 
on the other in forme of a Sickell. 55 "A headland of 
high hills, over growne with shrubby Pines, hurts 
[huckleberries] and such trash* but an excellent haj^ 
bour for all weathers. 55 

AndVhile Smith was engaged in his scientific ex- 
pedition, Captain Thomas Hunt, whom he had placed 
in command of the larger boat, after lading her with fish 
and furs, put his time to profit by capturing twenty- 
four savages, Nauset and Patuxet Indians among 
them; and setting sail for Malaga, he sold the cargo 
for his masters and the savages at twenty pounds the 
head for the advantage of his own pocket. "This vilde 
act/ 5 wrote Smith, "kept him ever after from anymore 



24 OLD CAPE COD 

emploiment in these parts." But such commerce was 
not unknown: in 1611, Harlow, sailing for the Earl 
of Southampton, with "five Salvages returned for 
England/' and one of these men "went a Souldier to 
the Warres of Bohemia/' The Cape Cod Indians seem 
to have been a gentle, even a forgiving race, but they 
had a long memory for such perfidy, which was to 
prove a bad business for all later visitors to the region. 
Yet more often than not whites and natives fought, 
however friendly the first overtures might have been; 
and Smith reports, as a matter of course, of the In- 
dians about Plymouth: "After much kindnesse wee 
fought also with them, though some were hurt, some 
slaine, yet within an houre after they became friends." 
But kidnapping seems to have been the unforgivable 
offence. 

Only the summer before the Pilgrims arrived came 
Thomas Dermer, sailing for Fernando Gorges, Gov- 
ernor of Old Plymouth, and returned the Indian 
Tasquantum or Squanto, captured by Hunt and sur- 
vivor of many vicissitudes, to the end that he might 
serve as interpreter and find out the truth about tales 
of treasure in the country. Dermer thought favorably 
of Plymouth for a settlement, and rescued a French- 
man who had been wrecked three years before on Cape 
Cod and was living with the Indians. He brought back, 
with Squanto, Epenow, one of Harlow's victims, who, 
however, succeeded in escaping at Martha's Vine- 
yard. Epenow, during his exile, had been something 
of a personage: "being of so great stature he was 
shewed up and downe London for money as a won- 



THE OLD COLONY 25 

der, and it seemes of no lesse courage and authoritie, 
than of wit, strength and proportion." 

It is reasonably certain that some of these adven- 
tures, perhaps all of them, were known to the Pil- 
grims. They would have been common talk in Ply- 
mouth, the city of Fernando Gorges, and in London; 
and the Pilgrims were come to a region familiar at 
least to their captain or his pilot, who is said to have 
sailed once with Dermer. But every man aboard the 
Mayflower, as they rounded the tip of Cape Cod, 
knew that they were about to land beyond the bounds 
of their permission to colonize, which lay within the 
jurisdiction of the North Virginia Company and "not 
for New England, which belonged to another govern- 
ment " ; and " some of the strangers amongst them had 
let fall mutinous speeches that when they cam 
ashore they would use their own libertie." 

Not for such liberty had Brewster, Bradford, 
Winslow, Carver, come upon their pilgrimage; they 
were men who meant to be free only within lawful 
bounds; and they were true pioneers, men who in an 
unforeseen perplexity could make a just decision. 
Hardly had they sighted the golden dunes of the 
Cape, and fetched short about to escape its treacher- 
ous shoals, than they were meeting their first test. 
As they made the "good harbor and pleasant bay" 
of Provincetown, "wherein a thousand sail of ships 
might safely ride/' the famous Compact was written, 
and forty-one men of the company signed it ere they 
set foot to land. It was a simple act, and none could 
have been more amazed than the Pilgrims had they 



26 OLD CAPE COD 

known its historical significance. But because they 
meant to be both free and obedient, their Compact 
contained the germ of all just government: "It was 
thought good that we should combine together in 
one body, and to submit to such government and 
governors as we should by common consent agree to 
make and choose/* 

"In ye name of God, Amen. We whose names are 
underwritten, the loyall subjects of our dread sover- 
aigne, King James, . . . haveing undertaken, for ye 
glorie of God and advancemente of ye Christian faith, 
and honour of our king and countrie, a voyage to 
plant ye first colonie in ye Northerne parts of Vir- 
ginia, doe by these presents solemnly and mutualy 
in ye presence of God and one of another, covenant 
and combine ourselves togeather into a civill body 
politick, for our better ordering and preservation 
and furtherance of ye ends aforesaid, and by ver- 
tue hearof to enacte, constitute and frame such just 
and equall lawes, ordinances, acts, constitutions and 
offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most 
meete and convenient for ye generall good of ye colo- 
nie, unto which we promise all due submission and 
obedience." 

There is the Compact. Freedom within due limits 
set by the consent of the governed, these men who 
had chosen exile rather than submission to a tyran- 
nous reading of the law proclaimed as the rule of their 
future, a principle vital to the spirit of the nation 
that was to be. And their Compact signed, and John 
Carver chosen governor for the ensuing year, the 



THE OLD COLONY 27 

captain anchored offshore and they proceeded upon 
the next step of their adventure. 

After the cramped wretchedness of the Mayflower, 
they must have been eager for release. "Being pestred 
nine weeks in the leaking unwholsome shipe, lying 
wet in their cabins, most of them grew very weake and 
weary of the Sea/' John Smith wrote of their passage 
thither. In any case there could be no question as to 
the necessity of landing: they must have wood and 
water; the women wanted to wash, the men to stretch 
their legs and replenish the larder with fish and game 
and corn. If in the process they found a spot suitable 
for settlement and offering a prospect of fair return 
on the investment made by their financial backers, 
the "Merchant Adventurers" of London, so much 
the better. 

That first day, November 11, Old Style, after the 
Compact was signed, some fifteen men landed rather 
to gather firewood than to explore. They saw no In- 
dians, and found the "sand hills much like the downs 
of Holland, but better, the crust of the earth a spit's 
depth excellent black earth all wooded with oaks, 
pines, sassafras, juniper, birch, holly, vines, some ash, 
walnut; the wood for the most part open and without 
underwood, fit either to go or ride in." Comment 
which would ill describe the present appearance of 
Provincetown and Truro; but then the whole inner 
shore pf the Cape, at least, seems to have been wooded 
to the water's edge. The party returned with a boat- 
load of juniper, "which smelled very sweet and 
strong/' The Sunday they kept aboard ship, with 



28 OLD CAPE COD 

what thankful hearts for their "preservation on the 
great deep," and steadfast hope of the future as we 
may imagine. On Monday the men went ashore to 
do some boat-building, and the women to wash. 
These landing parties had an uncomfortable time of 
it, for the water was too shallow to beach a boat, 
and they "were forced to wade a bow-shot or two 
in going a-land, which caused many to get colds and 
coughs, for it was many times freezing weather." 

On the fifteenth an exploring party set off under 
the command of Captain Miles Standish. For drink, 
wrote Edward Winslow, there was "a little bottle of 
aqua vitae and having no victuals save biscuit and 
Holland cheese at last we came into a deep valley 
full of brush, wood gaile [bayberry] and long grass 
through which we found little paths or tracts; and 
there we saw a deer, and found springs of fresh water, 
and sat us down and drank our first New England 
water with as much delight as we ever drank drink 
in all our lives." They sighted a few Indians, who 
"ran into the woods and whistled their dogge after 
them"; and William Bradford, lagging behind to 
examine a deer-trap, was caught by the leg for his 
pains. "It was a pretty device made with a rope of 
the Indians' own making which we brought away with 
us." They were as eager as boys on a Scout trail; and 
when they came upon an old palisado, they were sure 
it must have been the work of Christians; and on 
what is still known as Corn Hill they found a cache 
of corn packed in baskets, and an old ship's kettle. 
Whereupon they took a kettleful of corn along with 



THE OLD COLONY 29 

them they meant to pay for it when they found 
the owners, they said, and, moreover, many months 
after, they did so. They saw flocks of geese and ducks, 
and also three fat bucks, but would rather have had 
one. And they camped in the open near Stout's Creek 
at East Harbor, and next day kept on to Pamet Har- 
bor in Truro. Altogether a satisfying expedition for 
Miles Standish and his men who had been cooped up 
for so many weeks in the Mayflower, but they had 
found no spot to their taste for a settlement. They 
wanted not only good farm lands, but an adequate 
harbor for the trade that was to be: Pamet Harbor 
they dismissed on account of the "insufficiency of the 
place for the accommodation of large vessels and the 
uncertainty as to the supply of fresh water." These 
way-worn stragglers were entirely sure they were to 
need accommodation for large vessels; fresh water, 
by the way, was there a-plenty, although they did 
not find it. 

On the twenty-seventh they set out on their Second 
Discovery, this time by boat under the command of 
Master Jones, the Mayflower skipper, who landed 
them short of their destination at Pamet River. They 
camped in a freezing sleet, and taking boat again in the 
morning kept on to Pamet. That night they camped 
under some pines and supped on "three fat geese and 
six ducks which we ate with souldiers' stomachs, for 
we had eaten little that day." Next morning, on the 
way to Corn Hill, they killed a brace of geese at a single 
shot. "And sure it was God's good providence that we 
found the corn, for else we know not how we should 



30 OLD CAPE COD 

have done/* Again they camped in the open, and 
again marched on by Indian wood paths until they 
came upon a broad trail leading to a settlement. And 
although they saw ixo Indians no doubt keen eyes 
were watching them from woodland coverts they 
poked into the wigwams that were low wattled huts 
with doorways scarce a yard high hung with mats; 
and they noted the wooden bowls and trays, earthen- 
ware pots, and baskets of wrought crab-shells, and 
"harts' horns and eagles' claws." They seem, here 
and there, to have taken a sample of the best, and re- 
gretted that they had nothing to leave in exchange. 
"We intended to have brought some beads and other 
things to have left in their homes in sign of peace 
and that we meant to truck with them, but it was not 
done; but as soon as we can conveniently meet with 
them, we will give them full satisfaction." They dis- 
covered the grave of a white man, they thought, de- 
cently buried, with his sailor's clothes and treasures 
beside him, and a child's grave, from which they took 
a few pretty ornaments. Some burial mounds they 
left undisturbed, saying sententiously that "it might 
be odious unt them to ransack their sepulchres," 
which very likely was no more than truth. And still 
they found no place to strike root. 

But the Third Discovery was to have a better re- 
sult. On December 6 they set out, again by boat, and 
rounded Billingsgate Point before they landed to 
camp for the night. About five in the morning, their 
picket rushed in with cries of "Indians! Indians!" 
and they roused to savage war-whoops and arrows 



THE OLD COLONY 31 

rattling down upon the camp. But when they fired 
their muskets the Indians, probably some of the 
Nausets whom Thomas Hunt had despoiled of men, 
ran away as they had come, with no one harmed on 
either side. The place, situated near Great Meadow 
Creek in Eastham, was named "The First Encoun- 
ter." Again the explorers took boat, and passing the 
harbor and fertile lands of Barnstable in a driving 
northeast gale and snowstorm, drenched with the freez- 
ing spray that made their clothes "many times like 
coats of iron/' they pressed on to Plymouth Bay. So 
thick was the weather that their pilot, who had prob- 
ably sailed with Smith or Dermer, lost his bearings. 
"Lord be merciful, my eyes never saw this place be- 
fore," cried he as they passed the Gurnet. He would 
there and then have beached the boat, but one of 
stouter heart shouting, "About with her, or we are 
all dead men/' they turned and ran under the lee of 
Clark's Island where they landed. There, in storm and 
wet, they miserably bivouacked over the next day, 
a Sunday; and on the Monday exploring the mainland 
and finding harbor, meadow, and brook to. their mind, 
they determined to make here at Plymouth their per- 
manent settlement. Very likely they had bethought 
them of Dermer's commendation of it to Fernando 
Gorges, although they seem not to have been amen- 
able to advice from John Smith, who cites them as 
a warning in his "advertisemente to Unexperienced 
Planters." "For want to good take heede," writes he 
of them in 1630, "thinking to finde all things better 
than I advised them, spent six or seven weekes in 



32 OLD CAPE COD 

wandering up and downe in frost and snow, winde 
and raine, among the woods, cricks, and swamps." 
On December 16, Old Style, the whole company, re- 
united at Plymouth, set about the building of their 
new home. 

The Pilgrims had been little more than a month at 
Provincetown, but, beside the great achievement of 
the Compact, history had been making to open the 
annals of Anglo-Saxon New England : Edward Thomp- 
son, Jasper Moore, and James Chilton had died; Dor- 
othy, the young wife of William Bradford, had fallen 
overboard to her death; and Mrs. William White had 
been delivered of a son, fittingly named Peregrine, the 
first born of English parents in New England. Not 
unreasonably does Cape Cod claim precedence of Ply- 
mouth when homage is paid the Pilgrim Fathers. 

II 

THE Compact sprang into being by no magic of in- 
spiration: it was the fruit of minds that had fostered 
the intention to be free through years of just living, 
and the winning simplicity of the Pilgrims' several 
declarations of faith was the natural outcome of the 
spirit that framed them. For eighteen years or more 
their leaders had believed and practised the precepts 
of John Robinson whom they had chosen as pastor 
of their little congregation at Scrooby ; and Robinson 
charged them, according to Edward Winslow, to keep 
an open mind: "for he was very confident the Lord 
had more truth and light yet to break forth out of His 
holy word. He took occasion, also, miserably to be- 



THE OLD COLONY 33 

wail the state of the Reformed Churches 5 ' who stuck 
where Luther and Calvin had left them. "Yet God 
had not revealed His whole will to them. ... It is 
not possible . . . that full perfection of knowledge 
should break forth at once." Men who held that con- 
cept of life the progressive revelation of truth 
were as little likely to cramp the just liberties of other 
men as they were to submit themselves to the unjust 
imposition of law. And when England persecuted 
them, it was fitting that they should flee to Holland, 
the country of William the Silent, who had declared: 
"You have no right to trouble yourself with any 
man's conscience, so long as nothing is done to cause 
private harm or public scandal." That might have 
been the motto of their new government. It has been 
truly said that the Plymouth Church was "free of 
blood." They never hanged a Quaker or burned a 
witch, and refugees from the Massachusetts Bay 
Colony constantly found asylum with them. It must 
be remembered that they were so-called "Separa- 
tists," the Independents, men who set religion above 
any church, a very different folk from those uncom- 
promising protestants of the Church of England, the 
Puritans. Yet, wisely, John Robinson had counselled 
them to be "ready to close with the godly party of 
the Kingdom of England and rather to study union 
than disunion" with their neighbors in the New 
World. That "union" was meant to include no aban- 
donment of principle, and when ufrwillingly enough 
they were forced to merge with the richer colony of 
Massachusetts Bay, they were sufficiently powerful 



34 OLD CAPE COD 

to expand somewhat its rigid theocracy; though the 
Puritan influence, in turn, did much to curdle the 
early tolerance of the Pilgrims. 

In the seventy years of their independence, the 
Pilgrims worked out, by sober and deliberate progres- 
sion, a plan of government that was a model of state- 
hood, and they had the advantage over other colonies 
that they were constrained by no formal royal patent. 
When their agents had gone over from Holland to 
obtain the king's consent to their undertaking, James 
was ready to concede that "the advancement of his 
dominions " and ' c the enlargement of the gospel " were 
an honorable motive; the idea of fishery profits was no 
less to his liking. "So God have my soul," quoth he, 
"an honest trade. 'T was the Apostles' own calling/* 
But a formal grant to the despised Separatists was 
another matter, and they had to be content with a 
hint that "the king would connive at them and not 
molest them provided they behaved themselves peace- 
ably." They were willing to take the chance that the 
king's word was as good as his bond: for if later there 
should be a purpose to injure them, they shrewdly 
reasoned) though they had a seal "as broad as the house 
floor," there would be "means enow found to recall 
or reverse it." And they secured financial backing in 
London, obtained permission from the North Virginia 
Company to settle on their coast, then "casting them- 
selves on the care of Divine Providence, they ventured 
to America." Divine Providence, apparently, decreed 
that they should be free of even such slight restraint 
as the permission of the North Virginia Company, and 



THE OLD COLONY 35 

instead of settling near the Hudson they were driven 
to the New England coast. 

But they took care in the Compact and in all suc- 
ceeding legislation to affirm their loyalty to the Eng- 
lish Government. Though England had been none too 
tender in her treatment of them, they recognized and 
meant to abide by the essential justice of English law, 
and to profit by the stability that a strong bond with 
the Home Government could give them. Moreover, 
in these men flourished the British instinct to make 
whatever spot of the globe they should elect as home 
"forever England." They themselves for eleven long 
years had fretted as expatriates in an alien land. 
"They grew tired of the indolent security of their 
sanctuary," wrote Burke of them, although as a fact 
they had worked hard enough for their daily bread, 
"and they chose to remove to a place where they 
should see no superior." In any case they meant that 
their children should be English rather than Dutch, 
and they had refused overtures from Holland to settle 
in Dutch territory. 

The machinery of their government was of the 
simplest, and expanded, as necessity came, with their 
growth. As provided in the Compact, the Governor 
was elected yearly by general manhood suffrage. His 
one assistant was soon replaced by a council of seven. 
For eighteen years the legislative body, the General 
Court it is still called, was composed of the whole body 
of freemen; and the qualifications of a freeman were 
that he should be "twenty-one years of age, of sober, 
peaceable conversation, orthodox in religion [as a 



36 pLD CAPE COD 

minimum, belief in God and the Bible], and should 
possess rateable estate to the value of twenty pounds.' 5 
By 1639 the colony had grown to require a represent- 
ative form of government; and the two branches, the 
Governor and Council and the town representatives, 
sat as one body to enact laws,. But save in a crisis, 
no law proposed at one session could be enacted until 
the next, so that the whole body of freemen could 
have opportunity to pass upon it a clear case of 
the "referendum." As early as 1623 the community 
had outgrown its custom of trying an offender by 
the whole body of citizens, and substituted trial by 
jury. Capital offences were six as against thirty-one 
in England treason, murder, diabolical conversa- 
tion, arson, rape, and unnatural crimes and of 
these only two came to execution. No one was ever 
committed, much less punished, for " diabolical conver- 
sation." Smoking was forbidden outdoors within a 
mile of a dwelling-house, or while at work in the fields : 
evidently there was to be no gossip over a pipe with 
the farmer next door. In time this law was eased; and 
though in the early days the clergy alluded to tobacco 
as the "smoke of the bottomless pit," they soon came 
to use it themselves and "tobacco was set at liberty." 
In 1636 they first codified their law; in 1671 was 
printed their Great Fundamentals. Hubbard, in his 
"General History of New England from the Discov- 
ery to 1680," writes: "The laws they intended to 
be governed by were the laws of England, the which 
they were willing to be subject unto, though in a 
foreign land, and have since that time continued of 



THE OLD COLONY 37 

that mind for the general, adding only some particu- 
lar muncipal laws of their own, suitable to their con- 
stitution, in such cases where the common laws and 
statutes .of England could not well reach, or afford 
them help in emergent difficulties of place." They were 
loyal Englishmen to the bone, and in the first codifi- 
cation of law affirm their allegiance: "whereas John 
Carver, William Bradford, Edward Winslow, William 
Brewster, Isaac Allerton and divers others of the sub- 
jects of our late Sovereign Lord James . . . did un- 
dertake a voyage into that part of America called 
Virginia or New England thereunto adjoining, there 
to erect a plantation and colony of English, intending 
the glory of God and the enlargement of His Maj- 
esty's dominions, and the special good of the English 
nation." Yet they never waived a jot of their rights 
as freemen; and in 1658, toward the end of Crom- 
well's Government, they prefaced the General Laws 
with a note that the advisers of George HI would 
have done well to heed: "We the Associates of New 
Plymouth, coming hither as freeborn subjects of 
the State of England, endowed with all and singular 
the privileges belonging to such, being assembled, 
do ordain, constitute and enact that no act, imposi- 
tion, law or ordinance be made or imposed on us 
at present or to come, but such as shall be made 
and imposed by consent of the body of the associates 
or their representatives legally assembled, which is 
according to the free liberty of the State of Eng- 
land." 
At the Restoration they gave allegiance to Charles; 



38 OLD CAPE COD 

in 1689, bridging the chasm of revolution, to William 
and Mary: the significant point that they held 
themselves loyal to England, whatever its govern- 
ment might be. And it is interesting, in their address 
to William and Mary, that they felt entirely free to 
pass judgment upon the hated Royal Governor, 
Andros: "We, the loyal subjects of the Crown of Eng- 
land, are left in an unsettled state, destitute of gov- 
ernment and exposed to the ill consequences thereof; 
and having heretofore enjoyed a quiet settlement of 
government in this their Majesties' colony of New 
Plymouth for more than three score and six years . . . 
notwithstanding our late unjust interruption and sus- 
pension therefrom by the illegal arbitrary power of 
Sir Edmond Andros, now ceased, ... do therefore 
hereby resume and declare their reassuming of their 
said former way of government." But that, to their 
great disappointment, was not to be, and the royal 
charter of William and Mary united definitely the 
colonies of Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay. 

The advantage of their "quiet settlement of govern- 
ment" had been a double benefit: for it seems to have 
been a fact that liberal Plymouth was free of any inter- 
ference from England, while the Puritans of Massa- 
chusetts Bay, on the contrary, were in continual hot 
water with the Home Government. England prob- 
ably did not love the Separatists better than she had 
ever done, but she had no notion of quarrelling with 
sober, reasonable men who, in consideration of a per- 
sonal latitude that cost her no inconvenience, were 
willing that other men, provided they were "civil," 



THE OLD COLONY 39 

should live according to their individual right; and 
thereby saved her the trouble of playing arbiter in 
colonial disputes. England, moreover, was deriving 1 
considerable profit from the lusty young colony that, 
by its enterprise, was tipping the scales in her favor 
in the trader's game she was playing with Holland 
and France, 

in 

THE Pilgrims had been no visionaries seeking Utopia. 
They were members of a well-constructed joint-stock 
company which, as occasion offered, they adapted to 
the changing needs of the colony; and they were pre- 
pared to earn not only a home for themselves, but a 
return on the money invested in their enterprise by 
their financial backers, and, if they prospered, a sum 
sufficient to buy out such interests. It is true that they 
were, first, religious men seeking religious freedom 
for themselves, and, if God willed, they would be the 
bearers of good news to others. Beyond all other rea- 
sons pushing them to their adventure, wrote Bradford, 
was "a great hope and inward zeal they had of laying 
some good foundation, or at least to make some way 
thereunto, for the propagation and advancing of the 
gospel of Christ in those remote parts of the world; 
yea, though they should be but even as stepping 
stones unto others for the performing of so great a 
work." 

Yet money as well as zeal was necessary for such an 
undertaking as theirs, and the Holland exiles were 
poor. But arrangements were concluded with a com- 



40 OLD CAPE COD 

pany of promoters in London, "Merchant Adventur- 
ers" was their more romantic title then, to supply 
the larger part of the necessary capital, while the 
Pilgrims as "Planters" should furnish the man power. 
Their agreement set forth that: "The Adventurers 
and Planters do agree that every person that goeth, 
being aged sixteen years and upward, be rated at ten 
pounds, and ten pounds be accounted a single share"; 
that " he that goeth in person and furnishes himself 
out with ten pounds either in money or other provi- 
sions be accounted as having twenty pounds in stock, 
and in the division shall receive a double share"; 
and "that all such persons as are of this Colony are to 
have their meat, drink, apparel, and all other provi- 
sions out of the common stock of said Company." 

Doctor Eliot, in his speech at the dedication of the 
Pilgrim monument at Provincetown, lucidly described 
the working-out of the Agreement: "It was provided 
that the Adventurers and Planters should continue 
their joint-stock partnership for a period of seven 
years, during which time all profits and benefits got by 
trading, fishing, or any other means should remain 
in the common stock. ... At the end of seven years 
the capital and profits, namely, the houses, lands, 
goods, and chattels, were to be equally divided be- 
tween the Adventurers and the Planters. . . . Who- 
ever should carry his wife and children or servants 
should be allowed for every such person aged sixteen 
years and upward one share in the division. . . . At 
the end of seven years every Planter was to own the 
house and garden then occupied by him; and during 



THE OLD COLONY 41 

the seven years every Planter was to work four days 
in each week for the Colony and two for himself and 
his family. . . . Before the seven years of the original 
contract with the Adventurers had expired the Pil- 
grims had established a considerable trade to the 
north and to the south of Plymouth, and had found in 
this trade a means of paying their debts and making a 
settlement with the Adventurers, which was concluded 
on the basis of buying out their entire interest for the 
sum of eighteen hundred pounds. Eight of the original 
Planters advanced the money for this settlement, and 
therefore became the owners of the settlement, so far 
as the Adventurers' liens were concerned. It was then 
decided to form an equal partnership, to include all 
heads of families and all self-supporting men, young 
or old, whether church members or not. These men, 
called the 'Purchasers/ received each one share in the 
public belongings, with a right to a share for his wife 
and another for each of his children. The shares were 
bonded for the public debt, and to the shareholders 
belonged everything pertaining to the colony except 
each individual's personal effects. These shareholders 
numbered one hundred and fifty-six, namely, fifty- 
seven men, thirty-four boys, twenty-nine women, and 
thirty-six girls/' Probably the heads of these fami- 
lies were the men referred to as Old Comers or First 
Comers; namely, those who had arrived in the first 
three ships that brought colonists from England 
the Mayflower, the Fortune, and the Anne and her 
consort. " The Purchasers put their business into the 
hands of the eight men who had become the Colony's 



42 OLD CAPE COD 

bondsmen to the Adventurers, and the trade of the 
Colony was thereafter conducted by these eight lead- 
ing Pilgrims, who were known as Undertakers." 

There is the framework of their polity; its sure foun- 
dation that they were "straitly tied to all care of each 
other's good and of the whole by everyone; and so 
mutually" the bedrock requirement for the suc- 
cessful working of any cooperative scheme. There was 
no playing of favorites: each man worked; each 
man, if for no. more than his own sake, must work 
with good- will. "The people," Robinson had written 
of them, "are for the body of them industrious and 
frugal, we think we may safely say, as any company 
of people in the world." He knew intimately the men 
of whom he spoke. They were "common people" as 
compared with some of the aristocrats of Massachu- 
setts Bay; yet on the Mayflower roster appeared 
"masters," "servants," and "artisans"; and each in 
his degree contributed to the public welfare. Action 
they constantly matched up with their professed atti- 
tude to God, with the result that if the expression of 
their belief were of an ancient pattern, the practice 
of it would stand well with the liberalism of to-day. 

The first year of the little colony was difficult 
enough, and before the winter was over they might 
have starved had it not been for the fisheries and the 
kindness of their Indian neighbors. Yet of their neigh- 
bors' good-will they were not too confident, and they 
levelled the graves of their dead lest the number should 
be known to the Indians, and for the discourage- 
ment of prospective colonists. Before the spring was 



THE OLD COLONY 43 

over, one half of the one hundred and*Swo souls that 
sailed by the Mayflower had died, and of the eighteen 
women only four survived the hardships of the first 
six months. Yet they would not lose heart. "It is not 
with us as with other men whom small things can dis- 
courage or small discontentments cause to wish them- 
selves home again," William Brewster and John Rob- 
inson had declared. "If we should be driven to return, 
we should not hope to recover our present helps and 
comforts, neither indeed look ever for ourselves to at- 
tain unto the like in any other place during our lives." 
Wherein one may read how bitter had been the years 
of their exile, how constant their longing for freedom 
and the abiding comfort of justice. They meant now 
to hold on and succeed, and if possible to encourage 
others to join them, in the place where their own cour- 
age and initiative had set them; for it seems to have 
been a fact that the Pilgrims displayed not only in- 
domitable spirit in their optimistic reports to corre- 
spondents in the old country, but also the considered 
policy of shrewd men who would enlist recruits for 
their enterprise. Even their critic, John Smith, was 
moved to admiration for these men who, to be sure, 
had invited trouble by "accident, ignorance, and 
wilfulness," yet "have endured, with a wonderful 
patience many losses and extremities." And he mar- 
vels that "they subsist and prosper so well, not any 
of them will abandon the country, but to the utmost 
of their powers increase their numbers." 

Somehow, in spite of sickness and death and short 
rations, they won through the dark months of that 



44 OLD CAPE COD 

first winter, aftd fortunately for them the spring broke 
early. On March 19 and 20, "we digged our grounds 
and sowed our garden seeds"; and these Yorkshire 
farmers, at any cost, must have been glad to be out 
in the open again planting their seeds. "I never in my 
life remember a more seasonable year than we have 
here enjoyed/' Winslow had the courage to write in 
his "Brief and True Declaration." "For the temper of 
the air here, it agreeth well with that in England, and 
if there be any difference at all, this is somewhat 
hotter in summer. Some think it to be colder in winter, 
but I cannot out of experience so say. The air is very 
clear and not foggy, as hath been reported/' It is a 
cheerful report, persuasive reading for would-be col- 
onists, that Winslow sent back to England by the 
Fortune which, in the autumn of 1621, brought over 
the Pilgrims that had perforce remained behind when 
the Speedwell broke down. And among the new colo- 
nists was one William Hilton, who was so pleased with 
the prospect that he sent back post-haste for his 
family. 

"Loving cousin," wrote he, "At our arrival .'. . we 
found all our friends and planters in good health, 
though they were left sicke and weake with vefry small 
meanes, the Indians round about us peaceable and 
friendly, the country very pleasant and temperate, 
yeelding naturally of itself great store of fruites. We 
are all free-holders, the rent day doth not trouble us; 
and all of those good blessings we have, of which and 
what we Ii3t in their seasons for taking. Our companie 
are for the most part very religious honest people; the 



THE OLD COLONY 45 

word of God sincerely taught us every Sabbath: so 
that I know not anything a contented mind can here 
want, I desire your friendly care to send my wife and 
children to me, where I wish all the friends I have in 
England, and so I rest Your loving kinsman." 

William Hilton had arrived in time for the celebra- 
tion of their first Thanksgiving Day, which was kept 
after the kindly manner of the Harvest Home in Old 
England. Here is Winslow's description of the fes- 
tivity: "Our harvest being gotten in, our Governor 
sent four men on fowling, that so we might, after a 
more special manner, rejoice together after we had 
gathered the fruit of our labours. They four in a day 
killed as much fowl as, with a little help besides, served 
the company almost a week. At which time amongst 
other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the 
Indians coming amongst us. And amongst the rest 
their greatest king, Massasoy t, with some ninety men, 
whom for three days we entertained and feasted. 
And they went out and killed five deer, which they 
brought to the Plantation, and bestowed on our Gov- 
ernor, and upon the Captain and others. And although 
it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with 
us; yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from 
want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty. 55 
A memorable feast; and twenty-five years later Brad- 
ford wrote: "Nor has there been any general want of 
food amongst us since to this day/ 5 The fine healthy 
temper of the pioneers shines out in these simple 
words the words of men who could pass lightly 
over the uncertainties and privations of that first 



46 OLD CAPE COD 

difficult winter, when more than once it must have 
seemed to them that all their hope and labor were in 
vain and their adventure doomed, to emphasize only 
the good things that had come to them. 

And Robert Cushman who, with his family, 
arrived by the Fortune, sent report back to his "lov- 
ing friends the Adventurers of New England" that 
New England it was not only because Prince Charles 
had named it so, but "becauseof the resemblance that 
is in it of England, the native soil of Englishmen; it 
being much the same for heat and cold in summer and 
winter; it being champaign ground, but no high 
mountains, somewhat like the soil in Kent and Essex; 
full of dales and meadow ground, full of rivers and 
sweet springs, as England is," 

IV 

THE country was sparsely settled by natives: for 
some four years earlier an "unwanted plague," an act 
of God the pious might have been excused for judg- 
ing it to sweep the country bare for the uses of white 
immigrants, had all but depopulated the coast from 
the Penobscot to Narragansett. The vicinity of 
Plymouth, in particular, had been affected, and when 
Squanto was returned there by Dermer, he found all 
his kinsmen dead. It is said that a short time before 
the calamity, the Nausets, making reprisals on a ship- 
wrecked French crew for the kidnapping activities of 
the whites, had been promised by one of their victims 
the vengeance of the white man's God who would 
surely destroy them and give over their country to his 



THE OLD COLONY 47 

people. *We are too many for him to destroy/ 5 
boasted the Indians. But when the plague wasted 
them, and the arrival of the Mayflower might be held 
as confirmation of the prophecy, their assurance may 
have weakened. It seemed that the white man's God 
might have more power than they supposed; and 
perhaps that futile flight of arrows at the First En- 
counter was no more than a half-hearted protest at 
the decree of- fate. The natives had some pretty super- 
stitions of their own as to the discovery of Nan- 
tucket, for instance, which, they told the English- 
men, had been quite unknown until many moons 
earlier when a great bird had borne off in his talons so 
many children from the south shore that a giant, one 
Maushope, moved with pity, had waded out into the 
sea and followed the bird to the island where he 
found the bones of the ravished children under a tree. 
Whereupon, recognizing the futility of regret, he sat 
him down to smoke, and the smoke was borne back 
across the waters he had traversed the true origin 
of fog in the Sound. And Indians, as it drove in from 
sea, would say: "There comes old Maushope's 
smoke." Another story has it that Nantucket was 
formed of the ashes from Maushope's pipe; but that 
the island was discovered by the parents of a papoose 
that was borne off by an eagle. They followed fast in 
their canoe, but not fast enough, for they were only 
in time to find the bones of their child heaped under 
a tree in the hitherto unknown land of Nantucket. 

The Plymouth settlers seem to have encountered 
no great opposition from the natives who, although 



48 OLD CAPE COD 

shy and suspicious as might be any creatures of the 
forest, were responsive to the just dealing that was 
the considered policy of the Pilgrims; and on both 
sides there was an impulse to friendliness tempered, 
however, by the ineradicable racial instinct to be 
wary of whatever is strange. Within a few months the 
settlers had concluded a treaty with Massasoit, the 
great overlord of the region. And Samoset, who had 
learned a little English from traders, soon presented 
himself with his friendly greeting: "Welcome, Eng- 
lishmen, welcome." And Squanto, from the first, was 
their faithful interpreter. The .remnants of the Cape 
tribes, the Cummaquids, the Nausets, and Pamets, 
scattered among their little settlements from Sand- 
wich to Truro Mashpee, Sacuton, Cummaquid, 
Mattacheesett, Nobscusset, Monomoyick, Sequau- 
tucket, Nauset, and Pamet were, save the Nausets 
possibly, a singularly gentle race. Nor were the Nau- 
sets, when it was well within their power once, dis- 
posed to take vengeance upon a boy. 

In July, 1621, young John Billington set out from 
Plymouth to do some independent exploring; nor was 
this the first escapade of the Billington family. Back 
there at Provincetown, one morning, John's brother 
Francis was like to have blown up the Mayflower by 
firing off a fowling-piece in the cabin where there was 
an open keg of powder. "By God's mercy, no harm 
was done/' The Billingtons seem to have been among 
the undesirables of the Mayflower: the father "I 
know not by what friends shuffled into our company," 
Bradford writes of him. And later, in 1630, the man 



THE OLD COLONY 49 

was hanged for murder. But the settlers were not 
men to leave young John to his fate; yet search as 
they would, they could find no trace of him until 
Indians brought in rumors of a white lad roaming 
about the Cape. Ten men, with two Indians as inter- 
preters, set sail for Barnstable Bay, and asked news 
of the boy from some natives catching lobsters there. 
Yes, such a boy was known to be with the Nausets, 
and the company was invited to land. They were wel- 
comed by lyanough, sachem of the Cummaquids, "a 
man, 5 ' wrote Edward Winslow of him, "not exceeding 
twenty-six years of age, but very personable, gentle, 
courteous and fair-conditioned; indeed, not like a 
savage except in his attire. His entertainment was 
answerable to his parts, and his cheer plentiful and 
various." And here at Cummaquid they saw a woman, 
upwards of a hundred years old, who was mother of 
three of Hunt's victims and bewailed the loss of her 
sons so piteously that the visitors sought to comfort 
her not only with futile words, but with a gift of 
"some small trifles which somewhat appeased her/* 
And after partaking of the "plentiful and various 
cheer," they set out again, with lyanough himself and 
two of his men as a guard of honor, and grounded 
their boat near the Nauset shore. But they did not 
land, and after some cautious interchange of civilities, 
Aspinet, the sachem there, brought the boy, whom he 
"had bedecked like a salvage," and "behung with 
beads," out to their boat. And through Aspinet, the 
Plymouth men arranged to pay for the seed corn they 
had taken from his cache on Corn Hill in the previous 



50 OLD CAPE COD 

November. Returning with lyanough to Cummaquid, 
there was further " entertainment": the women and 
children joined hands in a dance before them ; lyanough 
himself led the way through the darkness to a spring 
where they might fill their water cask; he hung his own 
necklace about the neck of an Englishman. And the 
party set out for home with due reciprocation of cour- 
tesy, but were hindered by tide and wind, and again 
returned, and again were welcomed by the natives. 
Truly, a fine adventure for young John Billington. 

This expedition seems to have cemented a friendly 
understanding with the Cape Indians. In November, 
when the Fortune was sighted off the Cape and the 
Indians feared she might be a hostile French ship, 
they warned Plymouth in time for the townsmen to 
prepare for possible attack. And the natives were 
always ready to supplement the settlers 9 scanty stock 
of food, which, but for them, would have had no other 
variety than game from the forest and fish from the 
sea. Not that the pious were unmindful of such mer- 
cies. "Thanks to God who has given us to suck of 
the abundance of the seas and of treasure hid in the 
sands/ 3 was the grace said over a dish of clams to 
which a neighbor had been invited. But for the fruits 
of the earth they were chiefly dependent upon the 
savages, "The cheapest corn they planted at first 
was Indian grain, before they had ploughs," runs the 
record. "And let no man make a jest at pumpkins, for 
with this food the Lord was pleased to feed his peo- 
ple to their good content till corn and cattle were 
increased." 



THE OLD COLONY 51 

"We have pumpkins at morning, and pumpkins at noon. 
If it were not for pumpkins, we should be undone." 

The first harvest was not sufficient for the winter's 
need, and in November a company under William 
Bradford set out in the Swan a boat lent by their 
neighbors of Weymouth, who had had no small share 
in depleting their supplies for a coasting trip 
around the Cape to trade knives and beads for corn. 
With them was their interpreter Squanto; and this 
was to prove poor Squanto's last voyage, for dt 
Monomoyick (Chatham) he was taken ill and died. 
At Monomoyick eight hogsheads of corn and beans 
were stowed away on the Swan; at Mattacheesett 
(Barnstable or Yarmouth) and Nauset an additional 
supply was had. But at Nauset, where a few men had 
run in shore in the shallop, their boat was wrecked, 
and caching the stores, the party procured a guide 
and set out overland for Plymouth, while their com- 
panions in the Swan proceeded by sea. In January 
Standish took the lead in another expedition by boat, 
recovered and repaired the wrecked shallop at Nau- 
set, brusquely demanded restitution of the Indians 
for "some trifles 5 ' he charged them with stealing, 
and then and afterwards at Mattacheesett where he 
made a like charge, received the articles and ample 
apology from their chiefs. 

' All visitors to these shores seem to be agreed on 
the thievish propensities of the natives: Gosnold's 
chronicler remarks that they are "more timerous" 
than those to the north, but thievish; Champlain 
thought them of "good disposition, better than those 



52 OLD CAPE COD 

of the north, but they are all in fact of no great 
worth* They are great thieves and if they cannot lay 
hold of anything with their hands, they try to do so 
with their feet." He adds, charitably: "I am of opin- 
ion that if they had anything to exchange with us, 
they would not give themselves to thieving." The 
fact seems to have been that these children of nature 
could not resist the lure of any unguarded bits of 
treasure; but Miles Standish was not the man to 
enter into psychological elucidations of behavior, 
and at Mattacheesett, as at Nauset, he suspected the 
natives of treachery as well as thieving, and kept 
strict watch while they filled his shallop with grain. 
In the following month, March, he had still more 
reason, he thought, to question the friendly intention 
of the chief Canacum at Manomet, or Bourne, who, 
however, one bitter cold night had suitably enter- 
tained Bradford's party and sold them the corn which 
Standish had come to fetch. Standish's suspicions 
increased to certainty when two Massachusetts In- 
dians joined the company and one of them began a 
tirade to Canacum which afterwards was known to be 
a complaint of outrages committed by the English at 
Weymouth and aplea to cut off Standish and his hand- 
ful of men. Winslow writes that there was also "a 
lusty Indian of Pawmet, or Cape Cod, there present, 
who had ever demeaned himself well towards us, 
being in his general carriage very affable, courteous, 
and loving, especially towards the captain." But 
"this savage was now entered into confederacy with 
the rest, yet to avoid suspicion, made many signs of 



THE OLD COLONY 53 

his continued affection, and would needs bestow a 
kettle of some six or eight gallons on him, and would 
not accept anything in lieu thereof, saying he was 
rich, and could afford to bestow such favors on his 
friends whom he loved." Now a kettle was one of an 
Indian's most precious possessions, and very likely 
the Pamet, when he heard the treachery af oot, offered 
it merely as an extravagant pledge of friendship; but 
when he demeaned himself to help the women whom 
Standish had bribed to load his cargo, the captain 
merely saw there another proof of perfidy. The Eng- 
lishmen spent an anxious night in their bivouac on 
the beach; but when morning broke embarked safely, 
and with their corn made the return trip to Plymouth. 
Whether or not incited thereto by intolerable 
wrongs, Indians of the mainland had begun to make 
trouble, and information now came to the Pilgrims, 
through their ally, Massasoit, of a plot against the 
whites in which not only Indians near Weymouth, 
but some of the Cape Indians, were said to be impli- 
cated. Weston's colony of adventurers there had 
from the first been a thorn in the side of Plymouth; 
but when one of the Weymouth men, eluding the 
Indians, made his way across country to report the 
dangerous conditions there Standish waited not upon 
the order of his going. With eight whites and an In- 
dian guide, he set sail for Weymouth, where he seems 
to have met with little resistance, and having slain a 
due number of the savages, returned to Plymouth 
with the head of their chief, Wittaumet, "a notable 
insulting villain," as a trophy. Very likely thereby a 



54 OLD CAPE COD 

serious rising of the natives was averted. To Wittau- 
met's men a white was a white; it was all one to them 
whether he were blameless Pilgrim or Merrymount 
royster; and as for the Patuxets and Pamets and Nau- 
sets, we know they had old scores to settle. It is true, 
moreover, that any long contact of Indians and 
whites was fairly sure to end in a quarrel and blood- 
letting. And if the purpose of Standish's expedition 
was to create terror, it was a success. Natives of the 
seacoast, whom the plague had spared, innocent and 
guilty, fled to the swamps and waste places, where 
disease attacked them more effectually than the Eng- 
lish could have done, and many of them died; among 
them Canacum of Manomet, Aspinet of the Nausets, 
and even the "princely " lyanough, who seems to have 
been blameless in intention and act. More than two 
hundred and fifty years later, the bones of a chief 
were discovered near a swamp in East Barnstable, 
and, believed to be those of lyanough, were encased 
suitably and placed in Pilgrim Hall near relics of 
Miles Staudish who had as surely done him to death 
as if slain by his hand. The name of lyanough is pre- 
served in that of the modern town of Hyannis. 

How much fault in all this deplorable business may 
be charged to Miles Standish, one may not say. He 
was not a "Pilgrim," nor of their faith, but from the 
first, on account of his experience and skill, had been 
chosen for their military leader. Hubbard writes of 
him: "A little chimney is soon fired; so was the Ply- 
mouth captain, a man of small stature, yet of a very 
hot and angry temper/' And when wise John Robin- 



THE OLD COLONY 55 

son, at Leyden, heard of Standish's bloody reprisals, 
he wrote the brethren at Plymouth that he "trusted 
the Lord had sent him among them for good, but 
feared he was wanting in that tenderness of the life 
of man, made after God's image, which was meet; and 
thought it would have been better if they had con- 
verted some before they killed any." 



CHAPTER III 

THE TOWNS 

I 

WHETHER just or not, the summary punishment 
dealt out by Standish all but destroyed the natives* 
confidence in the whites; and as such a situation was 
particularly bad for trade, the whites, too, got their 
reward* Yet the Indians, when occasion offered, were 
ready to be kind. In December, 1626, the ship Spar- 
rowhawk, London to Virginia, as far out of her reck- 
oning as the Mayflower had been, bumped over the 
shoals of Monomoyick and grounded on the flats. Her 
master was ill, crew and passengers 'knew not where 
they were, and being out of "wood, water, and beer," 
had run her, head on, for the first land that hove in 
sight. Night was falling, and as canoes made out from 
theshore, "they stood on their guard." Butthe Indians 
gave them a friendly hail, asked if they were "the 
governor of Plymouth's men," offered to carry letters 
to Plymouth, and supplied their needs of the moment. 
Plymouth duly notified, the Governor led out a relief 
expedition, and, it being no season to round the Cape, 
landed at Namskaket, a creek between Brewster and 
Orleans, " whence it was not much above two miles 
across the Cape to the bay where the ship lay. The 
Indians carried the things we brought overland to the 
ship/ 9 The Governor bought corn from the natives for 



THE TOWNS 57 

the strangers, loaded more for his own use, and re- 
turned to Plymouth. But hardly was he there than a 
second message came that the ship, fitted out to pro- 
ceed, had been shattered by a great storm; and the up- 
shot was that the travellers, bag and baggage, came to 
Plymouth and visited there until the spring. The re- 
gion of the wreck was called "Old Ship Harbor," men 
had forgotten why until, two hundred and thirty- 
seven' years later, shifting sands disclosed the hull of 
the Sparrowhawk. And at another time the natives had 
opportunity to show their good-will when Richard 
Garratt and his company from Boston, which was 
rival of Plymouth for the native corn supply, were cast 
away on the Cape in a bitter winter storm; and all 
would have perished there had it not been for the 
savages who decently buried the dead, though the 
ground was frozen deep, and, having nursed the sur- 
vivors back to life, guided them to Plymouth. 

Plymouth trade, not only with the mother country, 
but with other colonies, grew apace. As early as 1627, 
in order to facilitate communication to the southward 
with the Indians and with the Dutch settlement on 
the Hudson, the Pilgrims may be said to have made 
the first move toward a Cape Cod Canal. "To avoid 
the compassing of Cape Cod and those dangerous 
shoals," wrote Bradford, "and so to make any voy- 
age to the southward in much shorter time and with 
less danger," they established a trading post with a 
farm to support it, and built a pinnace, at Manomet 
on the river flowing into Buzzard's Bay. Their route 
lay by boat from Plymouth to Scusset Harbor, where 



58 OLD CAPE COD 

they landed their goods for a portage overland of 
three or four miles to the navigable waters of the 
river and the coasting vessel there. And in Septem- 
ber of that same year, Isaac de Rasieres, secretary of 
the Dutch Government at New Amsterdam, landed 
at Manomet with sugar, stuffs, and other commodi- 
ties, and was duly convoyed to Plymouth in a vessel 
sent out by the Governor for such purpose. De Ra- 
sieres entered Plymouth in state, "honorably at- 
tended by the noise of his trumpeters/* and wrote a 
fine account of the town which is preserved for our 
interest. 

The colony, by 1637, had grown to comprise the 
towns of Plymouth, Duxbury, and Scituate; in no long 
time it included the present counties of Plymouth, 
Bristol, and Barnstable, and a bit of Rhode Island. 
Traders, fishermen, an adventurer now and again had 
visited the Cape, even a few settlers, unauthorized by 
Plymouth, had broken ground there; but up to 1637 
its early history is indissolubly bound up with that of 
Plymouth. In April of that year the first settlement was 
organized at Sandwich when certain men of Saugus, 
who were of a broader mind than their neighbors of 
Massachusetts Bay, wished to emigrate to the milder 
rule of Plymouth. Under due restrictions, they were 
granted the privilege to "view a place to sit down, and 
have sufficient land for three score families." They 
chose Sandwich. And with the first ten of Saugus came 
fifty others of Saugus and Duxbury and Plymouth. 
All was duly regulated; and two men who were found 
clearing ground without permission, and without 



THE TOWNS 59 

having fetched their families, were charged with "dis- 
orderly keeping house alone." If the Saugus men ex- 
pected a free hand in their new home, they were to 
be undeceived: the chief ordering of their affairs was 
from Plymouth, and in 1638 certain prominent towns- 
men were fined as "being deficient in arms" and for 
not having their swine ringed. It was the law of the 
colony "that no persons shall be allowed to become 
housekeepers until they are completely provided with 
arms and ammunition; nor shall any be allowed 
to become housekeepers, or to build any cottage or 
dwelling, without permission from the governor and 
assistants." Rightly, no doubt, Plymouth meant to 
avoid the danger of any such disorderly element as 
had infested Weymouth. 

In March John Alden and Miles Standish were di- 
rected to go to Sandwich, "with all convenient speed, 
and set forth the bounds of the land granted there/ 5 
In October Thomas Prince and again Miles Standish 
were appointed to pass upon questions affecting land 
tenure. Complaint, however, seems to have been then 
not so much in regard to the division Qjfcland as to cer- 
tain members of the community who were deemed 
"unfit for church society." And for the adjustment 
of future dangers, "evils or discords that may happen 
in the disposal of lands or other occasions within the 
town," it was agreed that some one of the Governor's 
Council should sit, in an advisory capacity, with the 
town committee to determine who should be permitted 
to hold land. John Alden and Miles Standish served 
many times as such advisers; in 1650 Standish re- 



60 OLD CAPE COD 

ceived a tract of some forty acres for his trouble in 
settling land disputes. It is interesting that Freeman, 
historian of Cape Cod, claims Priscilla Mullins for 
Barnstable, and allows us to suppose that the visits 
there of Alden and Standish led to the acquaiht- 
ance that ended in the discomfiture of Standish, and 
to the particular glory of Priscilla, with her thrust: 
"Why don't you speak for yourself, John?" Another 
love story is told by Amos Otis, in his "Barnstable 
Families," of Thomas Hatch, who was among the first 
landowners in Yarmouth and Barnstable, a widower 
and rival with another for the hand of a neighbor's 
daughter. All three were expert reapers, and Grace 
agreed to marry the man who should worst her in the 
field. Three equal portions were set off and the con- 
test began; but when Grace saw that she was likely 
to come out ahead, with Thomas a bad third, she slyly 
cut over into his plot; and he, fired by such encourage- 
ment, justified her favor. 

The system of government and land tenure in the 
later settlements were patterned after Plymouth: 
there were individual holdings of land and common 
lands which from time to time were apportioned to 
the townsmen, not only in accord with "necessity and 
ability," but "estate and quality " : fertile ground, one 
might guess, for difference of opinion. By 1651, at 
Sandwich, "the conditions on which the grant of the 
township was made having been fulfilled, a deed of 
the plantation was executed by Governor Bradford to 
Mr. Edmund Freeman, who made conveyance to his 
associates," a process which resembled the taking over 



THE TOWNS 61 

of Plymouth, from the Merchant Adventurers of 
London. 

Within a few years, on the general conditions of 
settlement granted to Sandwich, the four original 
townships of the Cape came into being. Scattering 
colonists had broken the ground. In 1638 "liberty was 
granted to Stephen Hopkins [one of the Mayflower 
men] to erect a house at Mattacheese and cut hay 
there this year to winter his cattle provided, how- 
ever, that it be not to withdraw him from the town 
of Plymouth." Two other men were granted a like 
privilege. The rich salt meadows of the Cape were 
coveted by Plymouth for cattle, which seem to have 
been brought over from England first by Edward 
Winslow in a voyage made in 1624; and it was not 
uncommon later for cattle to be sent out to the col- 
ony as a speculation, for one half the profits of their 
increase. 

In the early winter of 1637-38 an attempt at settle- 
ment was made in a portion of Barnstable known as 
"Old Town/' by one Stephen Batchelor, who for some 
twenty years was a stormy petrel among the clergy 
of New England. In 1632, at the age of seventy-one, 
lured no doubt by the hope of freedom there were 
not lacking those who accused him of license he 
had arrived in Boston and went on to Lynn, where he 
was soon in trouble with the authorities. "The cause," 
writes Governor Winthrop, "was for that coming 
out from England with a spiall body of six or seven 
persons, and having since received in many more at 
Saugus" in short, his flavor of liberalism did not 



62 OLD CAPE COD 

please the elders, and after a long wrangle, upon his 
"promise to remove out of town within three months 
he was discharged." It is said that among the settlers 
at Sandwich were some relatives of his little flock; 
and whether for that reason or not, in the bitter cold 
of an early winter, he led them, on foot, the weary 
hundred miles from Lynn to Mattacheesett. But the 
settlement, rashly undertaken, was not a success, and 
in the spring Batchelor was off to Newbury. Thence 
he went to Hampton and Exeter, and at eighty was 
formally excommunicated by the Puritans. His life 
here had been "one constant scene of turbulence, dis- 
appointment, discipline and accusation," and home 
again in England, in peace we may hope at the last, 
he died at the age of ninety. 

In 1639 came the formal permission to settle Yar- 
mouth. Stephen Hopkins's farm was incorporated in 
the new settlement, and the group of undertakers 
was headed by Anthony Thacher, who four years 
previously had been cast away on Thacher's Island, 
Cape Ann, in a memorable storm. His children were 
among those lost; but he and his wife, and, quaintly, 
a covering of embroidered scarlet broadcloth that is 
still an heirloom in the family, were saved. Thacher 
had been a curate of Saint Edmund's, Salisbury, and 
after his tragic entry into the country, had settled 
first at Newbury and then at Marblehead. 
[ In the early part of 1639 lands in Barnstable were 
granted by Plymouth on the usual terms; and in 
October of that year some twenty-five families, under 
the leadership of the Reverend John Lothrop, came 



THE TOWNS 63 

there from Scituate that had become "too straite for 
their accommodation," a phrase which meant prob- 
ably that in the growing settlement grazing land was 
becoming restricted. Lothrop was of notable personal- 
ity. A man of Christ Church, Cambridge, he had taken 
Anglican orders and then had gone over to the In- 
dependents and had become the second pastor of their 
church in London. After eight years there, he and 
fifty of his congregation were arrested and imprisoned 
for two years; but in 1634, in company with some of 
his former parishioners, he came to New England on 
the same ship, as it chanced, with the famous Anne 
Hutchinson, whose chief offence, in the days before 
persecution swung her mind awry, seems to have been 
a disconcerting personal charm. It is reasonable to 
suppose that Mr. Lothrop may not have enjoyed his 
long voyage the less by reason of such a fellow-travel- 
ler. In December, 1639, there was held at Barnstable, 
the first thanksgiving service, which resembled an 
earlier celebration of the same congregation at Scitu- 
ate, when after prayer and praise, so Mr. Lothrop in- 
forms us, there was "then making merry to the crea- 
tures/ 5 At Barnstable, likewise, "the creatures" were 
enjoyed when the congregation divided into "three 
companies to feast together, some at Mr. Hull's, some 
at Mr. Mayo 5 s, and some at Brother Lumbard, 
senior's. 55 Lothrop was a man of vigorous mind, with 
some worldly wisdom as befitted a pioneer, "prudent 
and discreet' 5 ; he was learned, tolerant, kindly, typi- 
cal of the early leaders in town affairs. It was those of 
the second and third generation, when the fires of 



64 OLD CAPE COD 

consecration had burned low and the influence of 
Massachusetts Bay was potent, who baited their 
heretics; and then men said of old Elder Dimmock 
of Barnstable that he kept to the teachings of his be- 
loved pastor, John Lothrop, and "if his neighbor was 
an Anabaptist, or a Quaker, he did not judge him, 
because he held that to be a prerogative of Deity 
which man had no right to assume." Lothrop's church 
members needed to sign no creed or confession of 
faith: they professed belief in God and promised their 
endeavor to keep His commands, to live a pure life, 
and to walk in love with their brothers* 

Lothrop's ministry at Barnstable had its smaller 
difficulties that are not peculiar to his time. Of a 
jealous, backbiting woman he writes: "Wee had long 
patience towards her, and used all courteous intrea- 
tyes and persuations; but the longer wee waited, the 
worse she was." The woman, "as confidently as if she 
had a spirit of Revelation," kept to her slanders: 
"Mrs. Dimmock was proud, and went about telling 
lies," so did Mrs. Wells; and Mr. Lothrop and Elder 
Cobb "did talk of her" when they went to see Mr. 
Huckins. At their wits' end to stop her slanders, they 
very likely held counsel regarding her. She was "per- 
remtorye in all her carriages," the harried parsoa af- 
firms, and finally, in 1649, milder measures exhausted, 
she was excommunicated. Another trouble-maker had 
come with the first settlers from Scituate. He had 
the training of a gentleman and knew some Latin, we 
are informed, but was a vulgar creature and obstreper- 
ous of manner. He, too, was excommunicated, among 



THE TOWNS 65 

the lesser reasons given therefor that he was "much 
given to Idleness, and too much jearing," and "ob- 
served alsoe by some to bee somewhat proud." Lo- 
throp, in his record, adds that William Caseley "took 
it patiently," which, belike, was but another manifes- 
tation of William Caseley's arrogance. 

Lothrop kept in touch with affairs across the water; 
and on March 4, 1652, appointed a day of "thanks- 
giving for the Lord's powerful working for Old Eng- 
land by Oliver Cromwell and his army, against the 
Scots." He loved his books, and by his will, in 1653, 
gave one to each child in the village, and directed that 
the remainder be sold "to any honest man who could 
tell how to use it." His house is still used for a library. 

Another bequest of public import was that of An- 
drew Hallett, of Yarmouth, first of the name, who left 
a heifer and her progeny, from year to year, to the 
use of the most needy in the town, no mean loan at a 
time when a cow was worth a farmstead. Hallett, in 
the precise classification of the day, was rated among 
the few "gentlemen." He speculated in land as did 
the best of his neighbors, from parson to cobbler, and 
was no stranger to contests at law. His son Andrew, 
though a gentleman's son, did not learn to write until 
he came to Yarmouth. He bought of Gyles Hopkins a 
house which without doubt was that built by Stephen 
in 1638, the first built here by whites a poor thing, 
very likely: for it was said that some of the Indian 
wigwams were more comfortable than many houses 
built by the English. But in no long time Hallett was 
building another house more in keeping with his estate; 



66 OLD CAPE COD 

and of one of his descendants in the mid-eighteen hun- 
dreds the gracious memory was preserved that he 
delighted in keeping "great fires on his hearth." An- 
drew Hallett, the younger, unlike his father, seems 
to have kept clear of legal entanglements, and though 
a member of the Yarmouth church, preferred at times 
to sit under the gentler teaching of Mr. Lothrop of 
Barnstable. 

The Reverend Marmaduke Matthews, first minis- 
ter of Yarmouth, was a fiery Welshman, witty, but 
indiscreet in his speech, who kept his parish in hot 
water for the six years of his tenure. He quarrelled 
with the constable; again, four of his opponents were 
haled before the court as "scoffers and jeerers at re- 
ligion and making disorders at town meeting," and 
were acquitted. Some schismatics tried to form a new 
society under Mr. Hull, who had been supplanted in 
the Barnstable church by Mr. Lothrop, but was still 
a member thereof; whereupon, perplexingly, Barn- 
stable excommunicated him for "wilfully breaking his 
communion with us, and joining a company in Yar- 
mouth to be their pastor contrary to the counsel and 
advice of our church." Hull made an "acknowledg- 
ment of sin," was reinstated, but soon after went to 
Dover. Lothrop was now supreme at Barnstable, but 
Yarmouth was not at peace, and under Matthews's 
successor, John Miller, another Cambridge man, mat- 
ters came to the pass of calling a council of conciliation 
drawn from the distinguished clergy of the two colo- 
nies John Eliot of Roxbury among them to pass 
upon these ecclesiastical difficulties. 



THE TOWNS 67 

In 1644 came the settlement of Eastham: indeed, 
there had been some talk of transferring the seat of 
government thither. There had been growing dissatis- 
faction with Plymouth; some said that they "had 
pitched upon a spot whose soil was poor and barren," 
and Nauset had long been known to them as a 
granary whence they drew many of their supplies. On 
further reflection the place was judged too cramped 
and too out of the way for a capital town; but seven 
families of Plymouth adhering to their wish to remove 
there, land was purchased from the Indians, and a 
grant was made to them of "all the tract of land lying 
between sea and sea, from the purchasers' bounds 
at Namskaket to the herring brook at Billingsgate, 
with the said herring brook and all the meadows on 
both sides the said brook, with the great bass-pond 
there, and all the meadows and islands lying within 
said tract. 55 Among the men coming to Eastham was 
Thomas Prince, who had come over in the Fortune, 
and married for his first wife the daughter of Elder 
Brewster. Prince took up a farm of two hundred acres, 
that ran from sea to bay, and later when he was elected 
Governor a dispensation was made in his case, as the 
law held that the Governor should be a resident of 
Plymouth. In 1665, however, public affairs forced him 
to return to the capital, but he still held his Eastham 
farm. Those who knew Prince testified that "he was 
a terror to evil-doers, and he encouraged all that 
did well. 55 Among "evil-doers 95 there is reason to be- 
lieve he included men of other theological views than 
his own. But the colony elected him three times its 



68 OLD CAPE COD 

governor, and the Plymouth Church set the seal of 
its approval on his administration. "He was excel- 
lently qualified for the office of Governor. He had a 
countenance full of majesty." 

Here, then, were the original four townships, ex- 
tending from Buzzard's Bay to the Province Lands; 
and it is particularly fortunate, no doubt, that these 
settlements sufficiently isolated the Indian communi- 
ties of the Cape before the great conflagration of 
'King Philip's War, when any concentration of fire 
there would have been a troublesome matter for the 
colonists to handle. In 1685, when the colony was 
divided into its three counties, four more villages 
Falmouth, Harwich, Truro, and ' Chatham are 
mentioned, but not until some years later were they 
set off and incorporated as towns. Later still Dennis, 
Brewster, Orleans, and Wellfleet were divided from 
the mother townships, and in 1727 the Province 
Lands at the tip of the Cape were incorporated as 
Provincetown, with certain peculiar rights therein 
reserved to the Government. 

The setting-off of Brewster, previously the North 
Parish of Harwich, in 1803, led to an amusing compli- 
cation that illustrates the fine stiff-necked obstinacy 
of these men of "the bull-dog breed." A battle royal 
was waged between those who did and those who did 
not advocate the division; and finally the best pos- 
sible compromise to be had was that he who would 
not budge from his old allegiance should be permitted 
his citizenship there, though his estate should lie in 
the new. Harwich was divided; in the process the 



THE TOWNS 69 

new town was splashed with angry patches of the old, 
and more than one conservative of the North Parish 
found his freehold tied to the mother town only by a 
ribbon of winding road. Such a one looked from his 
windows across jewelled marshes to the alien waters 
of the bay; and on election day, turning his back on 
home, crossed the trig waist of the Cape, and cast his 
ballot in the town set on the sandy inlets of the sea. 

n 

THE general grounds of contention, ecclesiastical and 
political, questions of land tenure and fishing rights, 
the division and government of parishes, remained 
for the children and grandchildren of the first settlers. 
It was not that they were a quarrelsome people, but, 
rather, that they had a healthy, vivid, proprietary 
interest in the civic and religious development of their 
common life. Every man in a town had his criticism 
for each act of the General Court, for the manage- 
ment of his neighbor, and the religious slant of his min- 
ister; every man expressed his personal view of the 
general comity in no uncertain words, with a result 
that sometimes presented a picture of confusion when 
it was in reality no more than the process of boiling 
down to a good residuum. Nor has this early spirit 
died. The strongly protestant temper of the Pilgrim 
Fathers has survived in their descendants; even to- 
day if one alien to the community penetrates beneath 
the tranquil surface of things commotion may be dis- 
covered. And from time to time, one may venture to 
suppose, a spirit of joyful wrangling has swung through 



70 OLD CAPE COD 

this town or that when the pugnacious Briton has 
cropped out in men finer tuned by a more stimulating 
atmosphere, who waged the combat not always for 
righteousness' sake, but for pure pleasure of pitching 
into the other fellow. 

In the early days, at any rate, there was some scope 
for the talent of an arbiter, and in the Reverend 
Thomas Walley who, after a stormy interval of ten 
years, followed Mr. Lothrop in the pastorate of Barn- 
stable, his people had cause for gratitude as "the 
Lord was pleased to make him a blessed peacemaker 
and improve him in the work of his house." In 1669 
Mr. Walley carried his peacemaking farther afield, 
and preached before the General Court a sermon en- 
titled "Balm of Gilead to Heal Zion's Wounds." 
Among other wounds were listed the "burning fever 
or fires of contention in towns and churches." Occa- 
sionally outside powers took a hand in these difficul- 
ties and the Boston clergy were called into council 
And shortly after the incumbency of Walley, when one 
Mr. Bowles seems to have officiated at Barnstable for 
a time, John Cotton wrote thus to Governor Hinck- 
ley at Plymouth: "This last week came such uncom- 
fortable tidings from Barnstable hither, that I knew 
not how to satisfy myself without troubling you with 
a few lines. ... It does indeed appear strange with 
men wiser than myself that such discouragements 
should attend Mr. Bowles. . * . I need tell you, worthy 
sir, that it is a dying time with preachers . . . and 
there is great likelihood of scarcity of ministers." And 
so on, in favor of Mr. Bowles. 



THE TOWNS 71 

Schism, pure and simple, sometimes clove a church 
asunder, and the dissenters, under the man of their 
choice, retired to form a new parish; but natural di- 
vision came about as a settlement spread to the more 
remote parts of a township. Such a group might re- 
main a subdivision "within the liberties" of the 
mother town, but as frequently the younger parish 
became the nucleus of a growing settlement that might, 
in turn, be duly incorporated as a town. Nor was the 
process likely to be consummated without some heart- 
burning. In 1700 the Reverend Jonathan Russell of 
Barnstable sent a tart communication to the town 
meeting that had divided his parish and desired his 
pleasure as to a choice of churches. "On divers ac- 
counts," wrote Mr. Russell, "it seems most natural 
for me to abide in the premises where I now am; yet 
since there is such a number who are so prejudiced or 
disaffected or so sett against my being there" in 
short, being a wise man, he elected peace and chose 
"the Western Settlement if it may by any means 
comfortably be obtained." And Mr. Russell took oc-. 
casion to remind the parish that he should require 
some provision for "firewood or an Equivalent, hav- 
ing formerly, on first settlement, been encouraged 
by principal Inhabitants to expect it." 

These early clergymen were usually Cambridge or 
Oxford men, the liberals of their time, sure to stand 
for the encouragement of learning among the simple 
people with whom they had cast their lot. And whether 
or not by their influence, the sons of those who had set 
their names to the Compact were ready in 1670 to 



72 OLD CAPE COD 

make some provision for schools. Looking about for 
a source of revenue, they perceived that "the Prov- 
idence of God hath made Cape Cod commodious to 
us for fishing with seines/' and thus encouraged the 
General Court passed an act that taxed the fishing, 
and, further, contained the germ of our public school 
system: "All such profits as may and shall accrue an- 
nually to the colony from fishing with nets or seines 
at Cape Cod for mackerel, bass, or herring to be im- 
proved for and towards a free school in some town 
in this jurisdiction, for the training up of youth in 
literature for the good and benefit of posterity." And 
the colony continued its work by requiring that chil- 
dren should be taught "duely to read the Scriptures, 
the knowledge of the capital laws, and the main prin- 
ciples of religion necessary for salvation." Idleness 
was punished as a vice; wilful ignorance was an 
offence against "the safety and dignity of the 
commonwealth/' Read into the simple precepts what 
modern interpretations you will, and one finds the 
elements necessary for training the citizens of a 
state to be justly governed by the consent of the 
governed. 

Less significant laws reached out to regulate the per- 
sonal life of the people : a talebearer was liable to pen- 
alty ; a liar, a drunkard, a Sabbath-breaker, a profane 
man might be whipped, branded, imprisoned, or put 
in the stocks. It cost Nehemiah Besse five shillings to 
"drink tobacco at the meeting-house in Sandwich on 
the Lord's day." For the man taken in adultery there 
was a heavy fine and whipping; the woman must 



THE TOWNS 73 

wear her "scarlet letter," and for any evasion the 
device should be "burned in her face/' And to curb 
the spirit of "divers persons, unfit for marriage, both 
in regard to their years and also their weak estate," 
it was decreed that "if any man make motion of mar- 
riage to any man's daughter or maid without first ob- 
taining leave of her parents, guardian or master, he 
shall be punished by fine not exceeding five pounds, 
or by corporal punishment, or both at the discretion 
of the court." As a sequence, it is written that a Barn- 
stable youth was placed under bonds "not to attempt 
to gain the affections" of Elizabeth, daughter of 
Governor Prince. In Eastham a man was mulcted a 
pound for lying about a whale; elsewhere one paid 
five pounds for pretending to have a cure for scurvy. 
Men were had up for profiteering when beer was sold 
at two shillings a quart which was worth one, and 
boots and spurs which cost but ten shillings were sold 
for fifteen. Certain leading citizens were licensed to 
"draw wine": Thomas Lumbert at Barnstable, and 
Henry Cobb ; Anthony Thacher at Yarmouth ; at Sand- 
wich Mr. Bodfish, and "when he is without, it shall be 
lawful for William Newlands to sell wine to persons 
for their need." Constructive work was done in the way 
of building roads and bridges, for which Plymouth was 
willing the towns should pay; and a committee of the 
four Cape towns was appointed to draw therefrom, for 
such funds, "the oil of the country." Representative 
government in the growing colony was practically co- 
incident with the incorporation of the Cape towns, 
which sent representatives to the General Court and 



74 OLD CAPE COD 

had local tribunals to settle disputes not "exceeding 
twenty shillings." 

The people neither had nor needed sumptuary laws : 
gentle and simple, they dressed in homespun. As late 
as 1768 a letter from Barnstable tells of the visit of 
some ladies "dressed all in homespun, even to their 
handkerchiefs and gloves, and not so much as a rib- 
bon on their heads. They were entertained with Lab- 
rador Tea; all innocently cheerful and merry." Men 
worked hard, and "lived" well: wild fowl and venison, 
fish in their variety throughout the year were to be 
had for the taking; and the farmers had homely fare 
a-plenty seasoned bean broth for dinner, an Indian 
pudding, pork, beef, poultry. It was a life meagre, 
perhaps, in the picture of it, but all deep concerns 
were there love, loyalty, birth, death, a convic- 
tion of personal responsibility for what should fol- 
low and the whole web of it was shot through with 
a rich, racy humor. They could be neither driven nor 
easily led, these people; and justice they meant to 
exact and cause 'to be done. In the old time their 
fathers had turned misfortune to the profit of their 
souls, and in the new country the natural energy of 
the children led them to succeed in what thy might 
undertake. 

The Independents were men who, if they had not 
loved many luxuries, had loved one with a consuming 
zeal; and it was perhaps excusable that those of the 
second generation should dole out with a more sparing 
hand the freedom that had been purchased at so great 
a price. Yet were they, again, for their time, liberals; 



THE TOWNS 75 

and it seems to have been true that the prospect of 
universal salvation brightened in proportion to the dis- 
tance from Salem and Boston. Plymouth, at any rate, 
even in its "dark age/ 5 between 1657 and 1671, was a 
bad second to Massachusetts Bay when it came to the 
persecution of heretics or witchcraft hysteria, al- 
though for the latter there might be people here and 
there who indulged themselves, without fear of moles- 
tation, in playing with the idea of magic. - 

There is a story of Captain Sylvanus Rich, of Truro, 
who, shortly before getting under weigh in a North 
Carolina port, bought from an old woman a pail of 
milk, and no sooner was he at sea than the ship was as 
if storm-bedevilled. The hag who had sold him the 
milk, declared Captain Rich, had bewitched him and 
his craft. Every night, he told his mates, she saddled 
and bridled him and drove him up hill and down in the 
Highlands of Truro. Far out of their course, they swept 
on to the Grand Banks and were like never to make 
port, when, by good luck, they fell in with a vessel 
commanded by the captain's son who supplied their 
needs and as effectually broke the spell of the witch. 

James Hathaway of Yarmouth was a stanch be- 
liever in "witchcraft and other strange fantasies'*; 
but Hathaway was no puling mystic, and lived out 
ninety-five hale, hearty, vigorous years. A kinsman 
of his could give proof of the family strength by pick- 
ing up a rum barrel in his own tavern and drinking 
from the bung; and the family eccentricity he evi- 
denced by quietly dropping out of sight to save him- 
self the trouble of defending a suit brought against 



76 OLD CAPE COD 

Mm for embezzlement by a sister, and as quietly, 
after an interval of twenty-one years, returning to his 
wife and home. It had been thought he was drowned in 
the bay and to no avail "guns were fired, sweeps were 
dragged, and oil poured on the waters." This same 
sister was a clever, well-read, witty creature, who mar- 
ried well, and for many years "associated with the 
intelligent, the gay and the fashionable.'* She con- 
tributed to her popularity in the drawing-rooms of 
Boston and Marblehead by recounting with a lively 
tongue stories of witches she had seen and known, 
their tricks, their strange transformations. To the end, 
she vowed, she was a firm believer in witchcraft. 

At Barnstable, one Liza Towerhill, so called because 
her husband came from that region of London, was 
reputed to be a witch, able at will to transform herself 
into a cat, and having constant commerce with the 
devil even though to the casual eye she were indus- 
trious, hardworking, and pious. 

The colony does not have so clean a slate in respect 
of the persecution of Quakers. As early as 1656 the 
trouble began at Massachusetts Bay; but Plymouth 
lagged in the enactment of prohibitive laws against 
heretics, the execution of which, in the end, were 
more often than not evaded. Yet Plymouth had 
drifted far from the teachings of old John Robinson, 
who had charged his flock to keep an open mind 
"ready to receive whatever truth shall be made 
known to you." The First Comers, who had heard 
and followed his words, were succeeded by men less 
well disciplined in mind and spirit, who were the 



THE TOWNS 77 

more inclined to the strait doctrine of Massachusetts 
Bay. Then Rhode Island, under Roger Williams, be- 
came the citadel of tolerance; but Quakers, exiled 
from the north, continued to stream into the colony, 
to the no small discomfiture of its officers. The visit- 
ors, maddened by their wrongs, were not too courte- 
ous with those of high estate, and Winslow, particu- 
larly, was irritated by their demeanor, "sometimes 
starting up and smiting the table with a stick, then 
with his hand, then stamping with his foot, saying he 
could not bear it." "Let them have the strapado!" 
cried he. Norton, arraigned by the General Court, had, 
in his turn, arraigned the Governor, whose "counte- 
nance full of majesty" in this instance, at least, 
availed him nothing. "Thomas, thou liest," cried the 
Quaker. "Prince, thou art a malicious man." 

But, for the most part, the Quakers did no more 
than describe, in Biblical terms as was the custom of 
the day, the soul-state of their persecutors. They had 
been bred Puritans, and spoke the Puritan language. 
If Mary Prince called Endicott, as he passed her Bos- 
ton prison, "vile oppressor and tyrant," she spoke 
the truth mildly. "There is but one god, and you do 
not worship that god which we worship," fulminated 
Juggins, the magistrate, in the trial of Lydia Wright. 
"I believe thou speakest truth," returned the accused 
calmly. "For if you worshipped that God which we 
worship, you would not persecute His people." "Take 
her away!" cried the court. "Away with "him, away 
with him," had been the only recourse left an earlier 
tribunal. 



78 OLD CAPE COD 

It was natural that the seemly magistrates of Ply- 
mouth objected to these new citizens who, when sum- 
moned "for not taking the oath of fidelity to the 
government/' announced that they "held it unlaw- 
ful to take the oath"; and they flatly refused to pay 
tithes for the support of a clergy they despised. Nor 
were they without sympathizers in that contention. 
"The law enacted about ministers' maintenance was 
a wicked and devilish law," declared Doctor Fuller, 
of Barnstable. " The devil sat at the stern when it was 
enacted/' And for his vehemence, though a true be- 
liever, he was fined fifty shillings by the General 
Court, which at the same term had the even mind to 
elect him, for his ability, one of the war council, and 
later to appoint him surgeon-general of the colony's 
troops. 

Quakers held parsons in light esteem, yet not one of 
the Cape clergy could have conceived such a plan as 
Cotton Mather, in 1682, spread before EGgginson of 
Salem. "There be now at sea a skipper," wrote he, 
"which has aboard a hundred or more of ye heretics 
and malignants called Quakers, with William Penn, 
who is ye scamp at ye head of them." Mather went 
on to recount that secret orders had gone out to way- 
lay the ship "as near ye coast of Codde as may be 
and make captives of ye Penn and his ungodly crew, 
so that ye Lord may be glorified, and not mocked on 
ye soil of this new country with ye heathen worship 
of these people." Then the astounding proposition: 
"Much spoil can be made by selling ye whole lot to 
Barbadoes, where slaves fetch good prices in rumme 



THE TOWNS 79 

and sugar. We shall not only do ye Lord great service 
by punishing the Wicked, but shall make gayne for his 
ministers and people." The precious scheme some- 
how miscarried, the threatened engagement off 
"Codde" did not take place, and Philadelphia was 
founded. 

When the Quakers Holden and Copeland, driven 
from Boston and whipped at Plymouth, came to 
Sandwich, they found soil ready tilled for their plant- 
ing. The church there, said to have been "the most 
bigoted in the county/' had been wrecked by the 
bitter feud between liberals and "hard shells," and 
its minister, a graduate of Emmanuel, Cambridge, 
"a man of great piety and meekness," had retired to 
the more congenial atmosphere of Oyster Bay, Long 
Island. But the churchmen of Sandwich, as was the 
custom of their race, thirsted for religion, and in reac- 
tion against the old doctrines, the liberals there went 
over in a body to the simple tenets of the Quakers. 
In a year no less than eighteen families professed 
the new faith; but in the meantime authority had not 
slept. 

The marshal of Sandwich, Bamstable, and Yar- 
mouth, was one George Barlow, a renegade Anglican 
priest; nor had his colonial record been a savory one. 
At Boston, in 1637, he had been "censured to be 
whipped" for idleness; at Saco, on complaint that he 
was "a disturber to the peace," he was forbidden "any 
more publickly to preach or prophesy " ; and later when 
he turned lawyer at Plymouth, it was affirmed in open 
court "that he is such an one that he is a shame and 



80 OLD CAPE COD 

reproach to allliis masters; and that he, the said Bar- 
low, stands convicted and recorded of a lye att New- 
bury." When Copeland and Holden arrived at Sand- 
wich, Barlow had been prompt to hale them before 
the selectmen, to be duly whipped. But the village 
fathers, "entertaining no desire to sanction measures 
so severe towards those who differed from them in 
religion, declined to act in the case/' Nothing daunted, 
Barlow presented his prisoners at Barnstable before 
Thomas Hinekley, then assistant to Governor Prince 
and later to succeed him in office. 

Hinekley was the best-read lawyer in the colony, 
just and honorable some held, others that he was apt 
at running with the hare and hunting with the hounds. 
He had his enemies, Otis admits, and adds: "Barren 
trees are not pelted." All are agreed that his second 
wife who was his helpmeet for more than forty years, 
was a beautiful and accomplished woman, and pos- 
sessed, moreover, of "a character excellently suited 
to correct the occasional impetuosity of his own." 
Whether or not that impetuosity had been galled by 
the Quakers, Hinekley permitted Holden and Cope- 
land to be whipped, and in his presence. The scene, 
described by Bishop with simple eloquence, is typical 
of many a Quaker punishment by the magistrates in 
the presence of a more compassionate people. "They 
being tied to an old post, had thirty-three cruel 
stripes laid upon them with a new tormenting whip, 
with three cords, and knots at the end, made by the 
marshal, and brought with him. At the sight of which 
cruel and bloody execution, one of the spectators (for 



THE TOWNS 81 

there were many who witnessed against it) cried out 
in the grief and anguish of her spirit, saying: 'How 
long, Lord, shall it be ere thou avenge the blood of the 
elect?* And afterwards bewailing herself, and lament- 
ing her loss, said: 'Did I forsake father and mother, 
and all my dear relations, to come to New England 
for this? Did I ever think New England would come to 
this? Who would have thought it? ' And this Thomas 
Hinckley saw done, to whom the marshal repaired for 
that purpose.'* 

Barlow was a ready tool for the hand of the reaction- 
aries. Sent by the Court to Manomet to apprehend 
any refugees who might come there by sea it was a 
law of the colonies that any captain bringing heretics 
should deport them at his own expense Barlow 
included the more lucrative affair of raiding well-to- 
do farms. At East Sandwich a man was mulcted 
eighty-six pounds, and in default of payment, eight- 
een head of cattle, a mare, and two colts: in effect, 
all his property save his house, his land, one cow and 
a little corn, "left out of pity for his family." But on 
a second visit Barlow, being warm with liquor, re- 
gretted his leniency, and took the corn, the cow, and 
the only remaining copper kettle. "Now, Priscilla, 
how will thee cook for thyself and thy family?*' 
jeered he. "George," she retorted, "that God who 
hears the young ravens when they cry will provide 
for them. I trust in that God and verily believe that 
the time will come when thy necessities will be greater 
than mine.'* The event proved her right, and in his 
old age, brought low with drink and evil ways, Barlow 



82 OLD CAPE COD 

often craved charity of Priscilla Allen, and was never 
refused. 

As in the old days, the " blood of martyrs was the 
seed of the church/' and persecutions, petty or great, 
did but serve to increase the number of heretics, who 
as time went on not always practised the pacifism 
they preached. Two women were sentenced to be 
publicly whipped for "disturbance of public worship, 
and for abusing the minister"; there were fines for 
"tumultuous carriage at a meeting of Quakers." 
There were fines, also, for sheltering Quakers; Nicholas 
Davis, of Barnstable, and others, were banished on 
pain of death. A Cape man, chancing to be at Ply- 
mouth when Nicholas Upsall, the aged Boston Puri- 
tan who had been outlawed for protesting against the 
persecutions, was driven thence, took compassion on 
him and brought him to Sandwich only to be ordered to 
"take him out of the government." In no long time, 
however, reaction set in; the fair-minded of the com- 
munity were roused to protest at the senseless persecu- 
tion; and men were beginning to say that such intol- 
erance was not in accord with the spirit of their faith. 
Mr. Walley, the parson, and Cudworth, driven from 
Scituate for his liberalism, and Isaac, the third son of 
old John Robinson of Leyden, spoke up for the op- 
pressed. Edmund Freeman and others, of Sandwich, 
were fined for refusing aid to the marshal in his 
work. And later, when Quakers resisted the payment 
of tithes, it even became the custom to make up 
the required sum by levying an additional tax upon 
churchmen. Nor were the Quakers, for the most part, 



THE TOWNS 83 

strangers, though refugees were harbored: for con- 
verts were many among the first settlers of the region, 
and we are told that after the laws against them were 
relaxed they were "the most peaceful, industrious, 
and moral of all the religious sects." And in 1661, 
when King Charles sent his injunction against the 
persecutions by the hand of Samuel Shattuck, the 
Quaker who tad been banished from Massachusetts 
Bay on pain of death, Plymouth welcomed the occa- 
sion to restore those whom she had disfranchised, and 
returned to the milder government that better suited 
her temper. 

in 

IN these years of the early settlements the Indians 
had given little trouble, and they had been willing 
enough to sell their lands for considerations that were 
valuable to them and not ruinous to the whites. The 
matter of the natives' claim to the soil was reasoned 
out in certain " General Considerations for the Planta- 
tion in New England/ 5 "The whole earth is the Lord's 
garden and he hath given it to the sons of Adam to be 
tilled and improved/* ran the ingenuous document. 
"But what warrant have we to take that land which 
is, and hath of long time been possessed by others of 
the sons of Adam? That which is common to all is 
proper to none," is the answer thereto. "This savage 
people ruleth over many lands without title or prop- 
erty. . . . And why may not Christians have liberty 
to go and dwell amongst them in their waste lands 
and woods (leaving them such places as they have 



84 OLD CAPE COD 

manured for their corn) as lawfully as Abraham did 
among the Sodomites?" Fortified by such doctrine, 
the settlers took up the waste lands, paid for the corn, 
and went on, when need arose, to pay for the cleared 
land; though later Andros, characteristically, was to 
declare that these Indian deeds were no better than 
"the scratch of a bear's paw." Prices were easy of 
adjustment. "A great brass kettle of seven spans in 
wideness round about and one broad 55 fell to one 
Paupunmuck, of Barnstable, who, however, reserved 
"the right freely to hunt in the lands sold, provided 
his traps did no harm to the cattle." And of Monohoo, 
the Reverend Mr. Walley, lover of justice and peace, 
bought some threescore acres for "ten yards of 
trucking cloth, ten shillings in money, one iron kettle, 
two knives, and a bass-hook." And so were matters 
arranged to the satisfaction of all concerned: to the 
settler his farmland; to the Indian a brass pot and 
bass-hook, and often a small plot was reserved to him 
for tillage. But his right to hunt or fish was inevitably 
encroached upon as the settlements absorbed more 
and more of the wild lands, and before 1660 Richard 
Bourne, of Sandwich, perceived that some special res- 
ervation should be made for the fast dwindling tribes. 
The settlers had lived comfortably enough with 
their pagan neighbors; and so busy were they about 
their own affairs, temporal and spiritual, that they 
were not annoyingly zealous in proselyting. But when 
John Eliot, apostle to the Indians, came down from 
Boston to arbitrate the parochial troubles of Sand- 
wich, he improved the occasion to forward the work 



THE TOWNS 85 

nearest his heart. An Indian of the Six Nations 
shrewdly observed to a Frenchman that "while we 
had beaver and furs, the missionaries prayed with us; 
but when our merchandise failed they thought they 
could do us no further good." No such charge could 
be brought against Eliot. "We may guess that prob- 
ably the devil decoyed these miserable salvages 
hither/' set forth the "Magnalia," "in hopes that the 
gospel should never come here to destroy or disturb 
his absolute empire over them. But our Eliot was on 
such ill terms with the devil as to alarm him with 
sounding the silver trumpets of heaven in his terri- 
tories and make some noble and zealous attempts . . . 
to rescue as many as he could from the old usurping 
landlord of America." The silver trumpets sounded in 
vain at Sandwich. Eliot was baffled by the difficulties 
of the local dialect, by the too pliant acquiescence of 
one sagamore, and by the ironic compliance of a huge 
sachem known as Jehu who stalked into meeting, 
stood silent at the door, and, silent still, went forth 
again never to reappear there. Eliot returned to Bos- 
ton, but it is probable that his hope was the inspira- 
tion of much good that followed. 

Richard Bourne took hold of the matter by the 
right handle: he was "a man of that discernment that 
he conceived it was in vain to propagate Christian 
knowledge among any people without a territory 
where they might remain in peace." And he pro- 
ceeded to obtain for his wards a tract of over ten 
thousand acres on the "South Sea," where in time, 
as birds to the safety of some southern island, flocked 



86 OLD CAPE COD 

Indians from far and near; and where still, though 
of deteriorated breed, may be found a few Mashpee 
Indians. "There is no place I ever saw so adapted to 
an Indian town as this," wrote the Reverend Gideon 
Hawley in 1757. "It is situated on the Sound, in sight 
of Martha's Vineyard; is cut into necks of land, and 
has two inlets by the sea; being well watered by three 
fresh rivers and three large fresh ponds lying in the 
centre of the plantation. In the two salt water bays 
are a great plenty of fish of every description; and in 
the rivers are trout, herring &c. In the woods, until 
lately, has been a great variety of wild game consisting 
of deer &c., and adjacent to the rivers and ponds 
otters, minks, and other amphibious animals whose 
skins have been sought for and made a valuable re- 
mittance to Europe ever since my knowledge of these 
Indians/' The description of the land on the thickly 
settled south shore of to-day is clearly recognizable; 
there are trout in the brooks, and fish in the sea, 
though the Indian and the "amphibious animals" be 
rarer denizens, 

Mr. Hawley had been deflected by the French wars 
from work among the Iroquois, in contrast to whom 
the Mashpees "appeared abject," he thought. "A 
half naked savage were less disagreeable than Indians 
who had lost their independence." But he might 
better have been thankful for that civilization which 
his predecessors had made possible: for the less trouble 
was his, and his Indian parishioners gave him, more- 
over, valid title to two hundred acres of their best 
land. He lived among them for fifty years, and is said 



THE TOWNS 87 

to have "possessed great dignity of manner and au- 
thority of voice, which had much influence." And his 
Indians, though "abject," did him credit. In 1760 one 
Reuben Cognehew presented himself at the Georgian 
court with a protest against the colonial governor, 
and returned with orders to treat the Indians better; 
and in the Revolution, Hawley said, more than sev- 
enty of the Mashpee women were made widows. In 
his old age he wrote a letter full of a humorous philos- 
ophy that must have stood him in good stead through 
his long ministry: "Retired as I am, and at my time 
of life I need amusement. I read, but my eyes soon 
become weary. I converse, but it is with those who 
have my threadbare stories by rote. In such case what 
can I do? I walk, but soon become weary* I cannot 
doze away my time upon the bed of sloth, nor nod in 
my elbow chair." He contemplates his fowl and ob- 
serving "how great an underling one of the cocks was 
made by Cockrari and others of the flock I pitied his 
fate, and concluded to take an active part in his 
favor." Whereupon Master Cockerel "gathered cour- 
age with his strength, sung his notes, and enjoyed his 
amours in consequence of my action. But alas! to the 
terror and amazement of the whole company he in 
his turn became an intolerant tyrant. The Archon had 
better understanding than I and I have determined 
not to meddle in the government of hens in future, nor 
overturn establishments. Cocks will be cocks. As the 
sage Indian said, * Tucks will be tucks, though old hen 
he hatch 'em!'" As for other animals, though "Mil- 
ton, full of his notions, supposes that a change in con- 



88 OLD CAPE COD 

sequence of Adam's fall passed upon them/* Mr. Haw- 
ley notes them much of the "same nature that they 
had before the Revolution in this country, and that 
important one now regenerating the Old World, as it 
is called; and under every form of government and 
dispensation, men will be men." 

But to return to Bourne: having obtained for the 
Indians their land, in 1665 he furthered their "desire 
of living in some orderly way of government, for the 
better preventing and redressing of things amiss 
among them by just means," and a court was set up 
consisting of six Indians, under his guidance, reserv- 
ing, however, that "what homage accustomed legally 
due to any superior sachem be not infringed." In 1670 
Bourne was ordained by Eliot as their pastor. And his 
son, following the father's example, procured an act 
of the Court guarding the tenure of their land, which 
might not be "bought by or sold to any white person 
or persons without the consent of all the Indians." 
And in the ministry Bourne was succeeded by men, 
sometimes Indians, sometimes whites, who had due 
regard for their charges, "the Praying Indians," they 
were called. 

At Eastham, the Reverend Samuel Treat was at 
pains to learn the language of his Indian neighbors, 
and translated the Confession of Faith into the Nau- 
set dialect. Mr. Treat was an old-school Calvinist, 
whose chief means to grace was the threat of eternal 
damnation. "God himself shall be the principal agent 
in thy misery," he could thunder out in the little 
meeting-house with a voice that carried far beyond its 



THE TOWNS 89 

walls. "His is that consuming fire; his breath is the 
bellows which blows up the flame of hell forever; he 
is the damning fire the everlasting burning; and if 
he punish thee, if he meet thee in his fury, he will not 
meet thee as a man, he will give thee an omnipotent 
blow." Whether Mr. Treat dealt out such red-hot 
doctrine to his Indians, we cannot know; perhaps 
they were warmed by the fervor rather than alarmed 
by the tenor of his words. At any rate, they loved him; 
and when he died during the Great Snow of 1716, they 
tunnelled a way to the grave and bore him to his rest. 
There were old ordinances forbidding the whites to 
give or sell firearms, ammunition, canoes, or horses to 
Indians. There was also a provision that "whoever 
shall shoot off a gun on any unnecessary occasion, or 
at any game except at an Indian, or a wolf, shall for- 
feit five shillings for every shot." Evidently all was 
not love and trust between the races. The Indians 
steadily dwindled in numbers until at Eastham in 
1763 there were but five Indians, and at Truroin 1792 
only one family, although an old lady then remem- 
bered that there used to be as many Indian children 
at school as whites, and "sometimes the little Injuns 
tried to crow over 'em." Early in the nineteenth cen- 
tury the pure-breed Mashpees were extinct; but in 
1830 William Apes, an "Indian" preacher, succeeded 
in enlarging their religious liberties; in 1842 their com- 
mon lands were apportioned in sixty-acre lots; in 1870 
Mashpee became a town with full self-government, 
though still with some special grants of state aid for 
schools and highways. 



90 OLD CAPE COD 

"Rum" here, as elsewhere, played its important 
part in undermining the stamina of the natives; and 
its evil, as in any age, exhorters to virtue were prone 
only too vividly to depict. "Mr. Stone one very good 
preacher," commented a Mashpee, "but he preach 
too much about rum. When he no preach about rum, 
Injun think nothing 'bout it; but when he tells how 
Injun love rum, and how much they drunk, then I 
think how good rum is and think no more 'bout ser- 
mon, my mouth waters so much for rum.' 5 And when 
asked whether he preferred Mr. Stone or "Blind Joe," 
a Baptist, he said: "Mr. Stone he make best sermons, 
but Blind Joe he make best Christians." And as in 
other and later times the whites made their profit in 
selling drink to the Indians. As early as 1685 Gov- 
ernor Hinckley writes of the Indians: "They have 
their courts and judges; but a great obstruction to 
bringing them to more civility and Christianity is the 
great appetite of the young generation for strong 
liquors, and the covetous ill-humor of sundry of our 
English in furnishing them therewith notwithstand- 
ing all the court orders and means used to prohibit 
the same." 

The Indians were inveterate gamblers, and al- 
though they could sit solemnly enough through a 
church service, they were as likely to go forth to game 
away all they had even to their precious knives and 
kettles. And the whites, as in the early days before 
they had made good Christians of the "salvages," 
were ready to suspect them of petty thievery: for 
which, however, the savages were not without ex- 



THE TOWNS 91 

amples to imitate. An Indian, reproved for taking a 
knife from an Englishman's house, retorted: "BaE- 
low steals from the Quakers. Why can't I steal?" 
At Yarmouth, late in the seventeen hundreds, near 
the mouth of Bass River, was a little cluster of wig- 
wams; and whether for reason or not, an irate deacon, 
suspecting some of the community of robbing his 
henroost, visited them in the early morning, only to 
be abashed by finding them at prayer. He stole away 
without further inquiry abouthis hens. And the Indian 
deacon, one Naughaught, nettled, perhaps, by such 
suspicions, upon finding a purse of money one day, 
would not open it save in the presence of witnesses at 
the tavern. "If I were to do so/' he told them, "all the 
trees of the forest would see and testify against me." 
And this same Naughaught had a marvellous adven- 
ture that must have made a fine story for drinkers at 
the tavern. Walking one day far from the habitations 
of man, went the tale, he was set upon by a great 
number of black snakes a common and harmless 
reptile in the Cape Cod meadows to-day, but going 
about their business there in smaller companies. 
Unarmed, Naughaught saw that his defence lay only 
in a steadfast spirit. He quailed not when the snakes 
writhed up his body, even to the neck; and when one, 
bolder than the rest, faced him eye to eye, he opened 
his mouth and straight snapped off its head. Where- 
upon its companions withdrew and left Naughaught 
master of the field. 

It is matter of record that the Cape Indians were 
more friendly to the whites, more humane, and more 



92 OLD CAPE COD 

easily converted to Christianity than their brothers 
of the mainland, and in like measure were the more 
despised by them. "The Praying Indians were sub- 
jects/ 5 said Philip, son of the great Massasoit, when 
there was question of taking the oath of fidelity to the 
English sovereign. But not he or his fellows; his kins- 
men had ever been friendly with the Plymouth Gov- 
ernment: his father and brother had made engage- 
ment to that end, but it was only for amity, not 
subjection. And by 1662 Philip was ready to defy 
Plymouth. "Your government is only a subject of 
King Charles H of England/' he told them. "I shall 
treat only with the king, my brother. When Charles 
of England comes, I am ready." 

As early as 1642 rumored unrest among the Indians 
and a well-grounded fear that the mother country 
might draw the Plantations into her quarrels with 
the Dutch or French, had knit the colonies closer to- 
gether, and in 1643 a protective league that was the* 
prototype of the later confederacy of states was 
formed among the New England colonies. Two com- 
missioners from each colony, six of the eight to make 
a majority rule, were to meet annually in September; 
a common war chest and a colonial militia were pro- 
vided for; but none were to fight unless compelled to 
do so, or only upon the consent of all. The Plymouth 
quota, under command of Miles Standish, was to be 
thirty men, of whom the Cape should furnish eight. 

In 1675 trouble with the Indians came to a head in 
"King Philip's War, in which the Cape, although criti- 
cised by Plymouth, bore her due share. It was charged 



THE TOWNS 93 

of Sandwich that "many of the soldiers who were 
pressed came not forth." As a fact, Sandwich, the 
frontier town of the Cape, was well occupied in seeing 
to her own defences that must separate the Praying 
Indians from the hostile natives of the mainland; nor 
was the town of Richard Bourne, with its large 
Quaker element, likely to be as eager to fight the 
Indians as Plymouth or Massachusetts. The Cape 
Indians were restive enough to cause apprehension, 
and the towns were constantly on watch for attack 
without and treachery within. Restriction upon the 
Indians was tightened, account of them was kept the 
easier by providing that "every tenth Indian should 
have particular oversight over his nine men and 
present their faults to the authorities." The five or 
six hundred men capable of bearing arms could have 
made trouble enough for the whites if they had had 
the will; but whether for gratitude or lack of spirit, 
they were loyal some even joined the troops. Mr. 
Walley, who was ever friendly to the Indians and 
ready to give them their due, observed that so well 
did they fight that "throughout the land where In- 
dians hath been employed there hath been the greatest 
success," and pondered how affairs might go without 
their aid. "I am greatly afflicted to see the danger we 
are in," he wrote Mr, Cotton, of Plymouth. "Some 
fear we have paid dearly for former acts of severity." 
Nor were there lacking heavenly portents of disaster: 
in 1664 a great comet had appeared, and three years 
later, "about an hour within the night," another 
"like a spear," and again another in 1680. "When 



94 OLD CAPE COD 

blazing stars have been seen," said Increase Mather, 
" great mutations and miseries have come upon 
mortals/' 

The price which Mr, Walley apprehended was 
sufficiently heavy, yet the outcome was as might have 
been expected. In August, 1676, when Philip of the 
Wampanoags was killed, "Thus fell a mighty war- 
rior," and then ended his war. In the sparsely settled 
colonies six hundred men were slain, twelve or thir- 
teen towns destroyed, and a huge debt contracted. 
Plymouth shouldered a burden that exceeded the 
entire personal estate of the citizens, which she met by 
vigorous taxation and partly, it may be said, by the 
sale of lands that had belonged to the exterminated 
Indians. The aftermath of war meant peculiar suffer- 
ing for the devastated districts; the Cape, fortunate 
in its remoteness, offered asylum, which was, how- 
ever, gratefully declined, to Rehoboth, Taunton, and 
Bridgewater. It is interesting that "Divers Christians 
in Ireland" sent over a relief fund of something over 
a hundred pounds. It is also interesting that no en- 
couragement or aid had been received, or asked or 
expected, from the mother country; and another use- 
ful lesson in self-dependence had been learned by the 
colonies. 

The Cape forces had been ably led by John Gor- 
ham, of Barnstable. A letter to the council, written 
in October, 1675, shows something of his temper as a 
man: "Our soldiers being much worn, having been 
in the field this fourteen weeks and little hope of find- 
ing the enemy, we are this day returning toward our 



THE TOWNS 95 

General, but as for my own part, I shall be ready to 
serve God and the country in this just war so long as 
I have life and health. Not else to trouble you, I rest 
yours to serve in what I am able, John Gorrun." 
Three days later the Court appointed him captain of 
the second company of Plymouth, of which Jonathan 
Sparrow, of Eastham, was lieutenant. 

The commander-in-chief was James Cudworth, of 
Scituate, who had been a member of John Lothrop's 
flock, and had lived for a time in Barnstable and 
owned salt-works there. He had been disfranchised 
for his sympathy with the Quakers, and bound over in 
five hundred pounds to appear at court "in reference 
unto a seditious letter sent to England, the coppy 
whereof is come over in print/ 5 which, however, was 
no more than a full setting-out of the unlawful per- 
secutions. But he was too valuable a man to lose: 
Scituate was nearly unanimous in his favor, as were 
Barnstable and Sandwich. In 1666 the Scituate mili- 
tia, against the will of the Court, chose him captain; 
in 1673 he was unanimously made captain of the Ply- 
mouth forces in a contemplated expedition against the 
Dutch. His declination of the honor, which he was 
later to undertake in the Indian war, was not, he de- 
clared, "out of any discontent in my spirit arising 
from any former difference. I am as freely willing to 
serve my King and Country as any man, but I do not 
understand that a man is called to serve his country 
with the inevitable ruin and devastation of his own 
family." Cudworth pleaded the care of his farm and 
his wife's illness. "She cannot lie for want of breath/* 



96 OLD CAPE COD 

wrote he. * c And when she is up she cannot light a pipe 
of tobacco, but it must be lighted for her. And she has 
never a maid. And for tending and looking after my 
creatures; the fetching home of my hay, that is yet at 
the place where it grew; getting of wood, going to 
mill; and for the performance of all other family 
occasions I have now but a small Indian boy, about 
thirteen years of age, to help me/* "So little of state 
was there/* is Palfrey's comment on the artless nar- 
rative, "in the household economy of the commander- 
in-chief in a foreign war/* And again: "It is amusing 
and touching at once to see how hard, in those days, it 
was to induce men to be willing to be great/* 



CHAPTER IV 

THE FRENCH WARS 

I 

THE so-called French and Indian Wars, a series of 
conflicts reflecting the entanglements of England 
overseas, lasted well on to seventy-five years after the 
accession of William and Mary in 1689. Political his- 
tory in Massachusetts was making in the meantime: 
Andros had reigned and been deposed; the Earl of 
Bellamont, a good friend of King William and a just 
man popular with the colonists, had served a brief 
term, wherein he had captured and shipped to Eng- 
land for trial the notorious Captain Kidd; and Sir 
William Phips, a native of New England acceptable 
to the people, was the first Governor under the 
charter of William and Mary that, in 169, formally 
united Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay. Plymouth 
had fought well for her independence as against 
absorption either by New York or Massachusetts 
Bay ; but when the skill of Increase Mather won her as 
prize, Governor Hinckley had the good sense to thank 
him for his work, as Massachusetts was preferable to 
New York. Maine, Massachusetts, and Plymouth, 
then, were united under the rule of Governor, Deputy 
Governor, and Secretary appointed by the king, and 
twenty-eight Councillors chosen by the people. On 
Cape Cod, at the time of the union, there were about 



98 OLD CAPE COD 

four thousand whites grouped in six towns Sand- 
wich, Barnstable, Yarmouth, Eastham, Falmouth, 
and Mannomoit which sent nine representatives 
to the first Provincial Assembly. 

It is interesting that at about this time began the 
advent of men of Irish blood, who, whether Roman 
Catholic or Protestant, have been among the most 
thrifty and prosperous of the Cape people. Early In 
the reign of William and Mary laws were put afoot to 
turn Ireland from manufacturing to agriculture. 
Swift gibed at the policy of "cultivating cattle and 
banishing men"; Lord Fitz William protested that a 
hundred thousand operatives were forced to leave 
the country. Many, the vanguard of a mighty host, 
came to the American colonies. Few of these early 
immigrants, probably, were of pure Celtic blood: they 
were the Scotch-Irish of the north, the Anglo-Irish and 
the French of the south, artisans rather than farmers, 
who were to play an enormous part in the develop- 
ment of our country. Among the early settlers of the 
Cape were many Irishmen: Higgins, Kelley, Belford, 
Delap, Estabrook, Wood, and the Reverend Samuel 
Osborn who succeeded Mr. Treat at Eastham. Mr. 
Osborn taught his parishioners the use of peat as a 
fuel and some improvements in farming; but, alas, in 
that orthodox community, he was suspected of lib- 
eralism, Thoreau says: "Ten ministers with their 
churches sat on him and spoiled his usefulness" 
but only for Eastham. In Boston he became a suc- 
cessful schoolmaster, and lived there to be near a 
hundred years of age. 



THE FRENCH WARS 99 

Life at the Cape flowed on with, simple annals to 
mark its course. In 1687 a mill for grinding corn was 
set up at Barnstable, to the wonder of the Indians 
who took it for a monster with arms the precursor 
of the winged mills that once dotted the Cape from 
shoulder to tip and played no small part in the charm 
of its picture. At Barnstable, too, was the first mill to 
"full and draw the town's cloth on reasonable terms," 
to the satisfaction, one may suppose, of busy workers 
at spinning-wheel and loom. And the erection of a 
mill at Yarmouth was even celebrated in verse: 

"The Baxter boys they built a mill, 
Sometimes it went, sometimes stood still; 
And when it went, it made no noise, 
Because 't was built by Baxter's boys.'* 

In 1694 Harwich was set off from Eastham, and it is 
said that Patrick Butler walked all the way to Boston 
to secure the act of incorporation* In 1709 Truro, also, 
with the usual stipulation that it "procure and settle 
a learned and godly minister," was set off from 
Eastham, which, indeed, as Pamet, it had long ante- 
dated in settlement. In 1705 there had been an abortive 
attempt to incorporate this district as Dangerfield, 
and in 1718 there was a motion to set off the future 
Wellfleet as Poole; but nothing further was heard* of 
these names: There had always been wrangling over 
the settlement at Mannomoit, at the elbow of the 
Cape: first attached to Yarmouth, then to Eastham, 
in 1688 it was made an independent "constablerick," 
and in 1712 was incorporated as Chatham. In 1714 
the Province Lands became the Precinct of Cape Cod 



100 OLD CAPE COD 

under the "constablerick" of Truro, and there was a 
tax of fourpence for the upkeep of a minister there. 
But evidently Truro had trouble with her ward 
the population was a drifting one, for the most part 
irresponsible fishermen and adventurers and in 
1715 she petitioned the General Court that the new 
Precinct be "declared either a part of Truro or not a 
part of Truro, that the town may know how to act 
in regard to some persons/' From the beginning, with 
a care to the preservation of crops, householders were 
required to kill blackbirds and crows, and there was a 
large bounty on wolves. In 1717 there was even talk 
of building "a high fence of palisades or boards" 
across the Cape between Sandwich and Wareham 
"to keep wolves from coming into the county." But 
there were two points of view for that question, and 
the scheme, opposed by some within on the score of 
expense and by others without who did not "wish all 
the wolves to be shut out of the county upon their 
own limits," was soon abandoned. In 1721 there was a 
fearful epidemic of smallpox throughout the State; 
and Cotton Mather, who favored inoculation, was 
held by the pious to prefer "the machinations of men 
to the all-wise providence of God." 

As the Cape became more closely settled, men of 
the pioneer spirit were again feeling themselves 
cramped for room; and in 1727 certain lands which 
the Government had been ready to give as bounty 
to veterans of King Philip's War, were, at length, 
granted to their heirs a township ten miles square 
to each one hundred and twenty persons where claims 



THE FRENCH WARS 101 

thereto were established within four months of the 
act. Seven townships were taken up. Number Seven, 
in Maine, assigned to the heirs of men who had 
served under Captain John Gorham, was named after 
him, and his grandson, Shubael, ruined himself in 
promoting the enterprise. Amos Otis writes that "he 
lost his property in his endeavors to secure to the 
officers and soldiers in King Philip's War, or their 
legal representatives, their just dues. In his strenuous 
efforts to do justice to others, he was unjust to himself, 
and involved himself, for the benefit of others, in lia- 
bilities which he was unable to meet." Of John Phin- 
ney, one of these pioneers of Gorham, a son of one of 
the conquerors of the Narragansetts, it is recorded 
that "he disembarked from his canoe on the Pre- 
sumpscot River, with his axe and a small stock of sim- 
ple provisions, attended by a son of fourteen years of 
age, with a design to make a home for himself and 
family in the then wilderness. Having selected a spot 
for his future dwelling, that son Edmund, afterwards 
distinguished as a colonel in the war of the Revolu- 
tion, felled the first tree for a settlement." Nearly 
every town on the Cape sent men to the new country, 
and here the old Cape Cod names were perpetuated: 
Bacon, Bangs, Bourne, Freeman, Knowles, Paine, 
Sturgis. 

In 1727 the Precinct of Cape Cod was incorporated 
as Provincetown, with important reservation of rights 
to the Government in exchange for which the inhabit- 
ants were held exempt from all but local taxes and 
from military duty. The Province held title to the 



102 OLD CAPE COD 

land; and it was not until 1893, when tlie State sur- 
rendered its holdings in the village that a Province- 
town man could be said to own his home, or give 
more than a quitclaim deed for its transfer. In 1740 
Provincetown seems to have added some grazing to 
her activities by sea, and is presented for so care- 
lessly herding cattle that the "beaches were much 
broken and damnified, occasioning the moving of the 
sands into the harbor to the great damage thereof." 
The French wars were working havoc in the fortunes 
of her fishermen and the population melting away 
until, in 1755, there were not more than three houses 
in the village and then increasing until the Revolu- 
tion, when there were twenty. In 1763 that part of 
Eastham known as Billingsgate Poole it never 
was to be became Wellfleet. And a year earlier the 
Mashpee Indians, feeling the push for fuller political 
rights, petitioned for and obtained their Mashpee 
District, eight miles by five or six, comprising two 
hundred and thirty-seven souls and "sixty-three 
wigwams." To the Yarmouth . Indians had been 
granted the greater part of South, Yarmouth on Bass 
River. Mr. Freeman records that 1749 was known as 
the year of the Great Drought which destroyed the 
early crops of hay and feed; but in July the weather 
broke, the bare earth miraculously put forth its 
green, and there were as many thanksgivings as there 
had been intercessions for Divine aid. 

Martha's Vineyard had been fonnd particularly 
adapted to sheep-raising, and wool was ferried over 
to Falmouth to keep the Cape women busy at their 



THE FRENCH WAES , 103 

looms. In 1738 a Barnstable man founded Marston's 
Mills, and a letter from Newport in a later year 
speaks of the woollen factory at Barnstable which 
receives from the spinners it employs sometimes five 
hundred skeins a day and clears in a year three thou- 
sand dollars, ' * which is the most profitable of any busi- 
ness now carried on in America according to the stock 
improved in it"; broadcloth "selling for three dollars 
a yard in London may be had here for a dollar and a 
half/' This public industry supplemented the one that 
a family conducted on its own account : for nearly every 
farm had its sheep, and homespun was the wear. The 
moors of Truro were dotted with sheep, and very 
likely some of its surplus wool was sent to the Barn- 
stable mills. 

That the Cape people, in parsonage or farm, fol- 
lowed the custom of the day and kept slaves is evi- 
denced, among other ways, by many wills. Mr. Bacon, 
of Barnstable, for instance, directs that in case his 
negro Dinah be sold, "all she is sold for be improved 
by my executors in* buying Bibles/' which are to be 
distributed among his grandchildren. Mr. Walley had 
his slaves; the Reverend Mr. Avery, of Truro, whose 
farm and forge were near Highland Light, was able 
to bequeath a considerable estate to his children; and 
among the assets were his negro "girl named Phillis/* 
his Indian girl named Sarah, and the negroes Jack and 
Hope who were never to be sold out of the family. 
Old Totoo, slave to Mrs. Gorham, of Barnstable, 
survived her eight years and, dying, begged that he 
might be buried at his mistress's feet. In 1678 two 



104 OLD CAPE COD 

Indians of Sandwich, convicted of stealing twenty- 
five pounds, were sentenced to be sold, for the profit 
of their victims, somewhere in New England as 
"perpetual slaves." 

And that apprenticeship in the early days was 
sometimes practical slavery is shown by the case of 
Jonathan Hatch, a Yarmouth lad, bound out at the age 
of fourteen to a Salem man, from whose harsh service 
he fled only to be caught in Boston, sentenced to be 
severely whipped, and returned as a slave to his mas- 
ter. Again escaping, he reached Yarmouth where he 
was arrested, condemned to be whipped, and passed 
from constable to constable back to Salem. Appeal 
was made to the Plymouth Court which made an ex- 
cuse of "doubting its jurisdiction" to evade the is- 
sue, and the boy was "appointed to dwell with Mr. 
Stephen Hopkins" at Yarmouth. In due time he mar- 
ried and went to live at South Sea, near the sachem 
of the Mashpees, with whom he became on very 
good terms. In 1652 he was had' up for furnishing an 
Indian with gun and ammunition, and later be- 
friended the Indian Repent who was charged with 
threatening to shoot Governor Prince. From the 
South Sea, with Isaac Robinson, he became a squatter 
at Falmouth, but soon was duly granted a plot of 
eighty acres. He was to act, moreover, as the land 
agent of the proprietors, and ended the career that had 
begun as a runaway slave by becoming a respected 
measurer of metes and bounds. 

For these early farmers slavery seems to have been 
the solution of their problem of trying to tie a la- 



THE FRENCH WARS 105 

borer to his job. While land was available in practi- 
cally unlimited amount and money was scarce, any 
man might find himself a proprietor, a point illus- 
trated by an amusing story of Winthrop's. A certain 
man, lacking cash, paid off his farmhand by giving 
him a pair of oxen. The laborer was willing to con- 
tinue such service. "But how shall I pay you? " asked 
the man. "With more oxen/ 5 "And when the oxen 
are gone?" "Then you can work for me and earn 
them back again/' But in the North, as time went on, 
and land was taken up in comparatively small farms 
that could be profitably worked by owners who could 
pay for necessary labor, the convenience of slaves 
was easy to forego, and the public conscience began 
to work for abolition. As early as 1733 Sandwich 
voted: "that our representative is instructed to en- 
deavor to have an act passed by the Court to prevent 
the importation of slaves into this country; and that 
all children that shall be born of such Africans as 
are now slaves among us, shall after such act be free 
at twenty-one years of age." Five years later selling 
slaves in the American market was prohibited at 
Boston. It is at Truro, one may believe, that one of 
the last slave trades on the Cape was consummated 
when, in 1726, Benjamin Collins bought from a 
neighbor Hector, aged three, for thirty pounds, and 
in due time made a Christian of him, as the parish 
records show. Hector grew to a great age, and evinced 
confidence in salvation, among other ways, by praying 
in loud tones as he went to his labor in the fields of 
the Truro Highlands where, sure gage of notability, 



OLD CAPE COD 

certain expressions to commemorate him crept into 
the vernacular "Old Hector/' "black as Hector," 
"Hector's Nook/' "Hector's Stubble," "Hector's 
Bridge." 

In the later years, preceding the Civil War, it was 
natural that among a people which had always counted 
many progressives, there should be Abolitionists. 
They were kindly folk, it is said, "with strong convic- 
tions, never attending church because the sermons 
did not condemn slavery" the early racial touch 
cropping out, it seems, in this later generation. Some 
of the ships of an Osterville owner even landed run- 
away slaves on the south shore whence they passed 
along by "underground railway" to a certain house 
in Barnstable. One remembers that as a boy he used 
to go there to teach them their letters; and he also re- 
members that " they were treated as equals ; but some- 
times they made their way to 'Mary Dunn's Road' 
where they found rum and congenial companions." 

Finance, swinging from stringency to inflation of 
the currency, was an ever-present problem in the col- 
ony during the French and Indian Wars. In the mid- 
eighteenth century, a land bank was proposed in the 
hope of using land as the basis for credit in a country 
where gold and silver were so lacking, with a result 
disastrous to many farmers on the Cape. In 1748 
paper was called in and the "piece of eight," or Span- 
ish dollar, made the standard; but again the easy issue 
of paper was too great a temptation, again there was 
depreciation and instability, again the struggle back 
to a standard dollar. In 1749, after "King George's 



THE FRENCH WARS 107 

War/' England liquidated the war debt of the Prov- 
ince by paying into the treasury at Boston a fund of 
some one hundred and eighty thousand pounds that 
were carted through the streets in seventeen truck- 
loads of silver and ten of copper. Henceforth it was 
provided that all debts should be paid in coined silver, 
which is said to originate the term "lawful money." 

n 

ALL these fifty years since the accession of William 
and Mary had been complicated by more or less par- 
ticipation in the foreign wars of the mother country; 
and the hereditary hatred of France and England 
lived on, with new occasions, in their colonies. Those 
of France had been planted and fostered by the crown; 
those of England largely by her rebels; Catholic 
France never could sympathize with the English here- 
tics; and now that the power of Spain was broken, 
French and English traders and fishermen were the 
chief rivals for domination of the -new countries and 
the seas, east and west, north and south, the world 
over. In 1689 the principle of colonial neutrality had 
been proposed by France and rejected, to her con- 
siderable subsequent cost, by England. And at the 
beginning of "King William's War/' so-called, Massa- 
chusetts, commanded by the Governor, Sir William 
Phips, set forth on her adventure for the reduction of 
Port Royal and Quebec. Port Royal fell, its loot pay- 
ing for the expedition, but was retaken by the French. 
France's reply was an invasion of the border, as- 
sisted by her Indian allies; and now and thereafter 



108 OLD CAPE COD 

throughout the French wars there was great appre- 
hension, particularly by Cape Cod in its defenceless 
state, of French sea-raids on the New England coast. 
After the Peace of Ryswick, in 1697, France claimed 
all the fisheries east of the Kennebec and all English 
boats there found were forfeit by order of the king 
fruitful cause, one may suppose, for fresh quarrels. 
And no later than 1702 "Queen Anne's War" revived 
the Indian raids, and the sacking of Deerfield roused 
the colonies to a holy war. On the Continent, mean- 
time, "Malbrough s'en va-t-en guerre" and in 1713 
the Peace of Utrecht ended the French wars for 
thirty-three years' breathing space; in the new world 
France lost forever Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and 
the Hudson Bay Territory. 

In these wars five expeditions had been fitted out 
by the colonies to attack the enemy on the east, under 
Colonel Benjamin Church, and in his command were 
found the Cape Cod men. Thomas Dimmock, of 
Barnstable, fell, fighting gallantly, at the battle of 
Canso. He would not shelter himself, as did the other 
officers, but stood boldly out in the open cheering on 
his men a conspicuous mark for sharpshooters. 
Major Walley, son of the old minister, was another 
officer a gallant figure, handsome and debonair, as 
a portrait of him, in fine surtout, ruffles and periwig, 
testifies; and there was Caleb Williamson in com- 
mand of the Plymouth forces, and Captain Gorham, 
later lieutenant-colonel, son of the old Indian fighter 
of Philip's War. And Gorham, especially, did unique 
and valuable service in command of the "whale- 



THE FRENCH WARS 109 

boat fleet'." These light-draft boats, manned by whale- 
men and Indians, could transport men and supplies 
up the shallow bays and rivers to the spot where they 
were most needed; and without such a device, the 
enemy, stationed for the most part where the trans- 
ports could not land troops, would have been hard 
come at by marches overland through the wilderness. 
At night, or in bad weather, the boats were taken 
ashore and turned over to serve as shelter. In 1704 
Church called for fif ty of these boats, and that winter 
visited every town on the Cape to recruit men. "For 
years after," writes Amos Otis, "these old sailors and 
soldiers, seated in their roundabout chairs, within 
their capacious chimney-corners, would relate to the 
young their adventures in 'the Old French Wars. 5 '* 

In 1739 there was an abortive war with Spain when 
Cape men enlisted for an expedition to the Spanish 
Main where many died of disease, and there was no 
result beyond a further impoverishment of the coun- 
try. And by 1745 England and France, drawn as they 
were into the War of the Austrian Succession, were 
fighting out in America ""King George's War." In 
April of that year thirty-five hundred troops, chiefly 
"substantial persons and men of beneficial occupa- 
tions," sailed from Boston under another fighting 
Governor, Sir William Pepperell, to attack Louisburg, 
the " Gibraltar of America." In this force the Seventh 
Massachusetts was known as the "Gorham Rangers" 
under the command of a Gorham of the third genera- 
tion. With him, as it chanced, was a descendant of 
Richard Bourne, William by name, whom an Indian 



110 OLD CAPE COD 

medicine-man had cured in childhood when white 
doctors had given him up as dying. William came 
scathless through the wars to die in old age, rich and 
respected, at Marblehead. 

In the following June Louisburg fell. Colonel Gor- 
ham commanded a whaleboat fleet as had his father 
under Churchill; and the first man to enter the 
Grand Battery, was one of the thirteen Indians in 
Captain Thacher's Yarmouth contingent, who, for 
the bribe of a bottle of brandy, crawled through an 
embrasure and opened the door to the besiegers. 
The exploit was the less glorious as it was apparent 
that the enemy had evacuated the place. 

Great was the joy throughout New England at the 
successful outcome of the siege, and not least in the 
Old Colony which had contributed so many men to the 
enterprise. Pseans of praise ascended from the pul- 
pits; bards broke forth into verse. "The Wonder- 
working Providence" recites the prowess of certain 
heroes from the Cape: 

** Lieutenant-Colonel Gorham, nigh of kin 
To his deceased Head, did honor win; 
Unite in nature, name, and trust, they stood , 
Unitedly have done their country good. 
May Major Thacher live, in rising fame 
Worthy of ancestors that bear his name, 
And copy after virtuous relations 
Who so well filled their civil, sacred, military stations. 
Now Captain Carey, seized with sickness sore, 
Resigned to death when touched his native shore; 
And Captain Demmick slain by heathen's hand 
As was his father under like command." 



THE FRENCH WARS 111 

Rejoicing was shortly tempered by wholesome dread 
of reprisals. As a fact France, enraged at the loss ol 
her stronghold, was sending out a great armament 
under command of the Due d'Anville, not only to re- 
take Louisburg, but to ravage the New England coast. 
There were eleven ships of the line and thirty smaller 
vessels, as well as transports for three thousand men. 
But Providence was to intervene for the humbling of 
French pride and the salvation of the faithful. Storms 
reduced the armada one half before it could even make 
port, disease swept away most of the troops, the two 
commanders died suddenly, by suicide men were 
ready to say, and the remnant of the fleet, without 
striking a blow, sailed back to France. The Cape, 
especially, had been alarmed at the prospect of such a 
punitive expedition: she urged the danger to her long 
coast-line; Truro petitioned the General Court for 
protection, and received a four-pound cannon, some 
small arms and ammunition. 

The Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle, 'in 1748, ended the 
general conflict, and in the negotiations overseas 
hard-bought Louisburg, to the great displeasure of 
the colonists, was traded for more valuable consider- 
ations elsewhere. In America guerrilla warfare, a raid 
here, a raid there, continued; and in three years' time, 
the greatest conflict of the series, when Washington 
and other young officers got their training for a greater 
war to follow, was raging all along the border. It ter- 
minated, in 1763, with the Peace of Paris, when France 
gave over to England her last American holdings. 
The colonies had learned painfully lessons to their 



112 OLD CAPE COD 

great advantage in the struggle with the mother coun- 
try that was even then beginning; and when the 
clash came, France was glad to range herself with the 
colonists for another blow at her old enemy England. 

It was during this war that England broke up some 
of the French communities that had remained unmo- 
lested since Nova Scotia was ceded to her by the Peace 
of Utrecht; and the "neutral French/' as they were 
called, were scattered throughout the colonies from 
New Hampshire to Georgia. Longfellow's poem of 
"Evangeline" tells the story of those pathetic exiles; 
and we know that in July, 1756, a little band of Aca- 
dians, ninety souls in all, men, women, and children, 
landed from seven two-mast boats at Bourne. They 
were tenderly received, we may believe, by the 
people who had never refused shelter to the unfortu- 
nate. Silas Bourne wrote to James Otis asking what 
should be done with them, and eventually their boats 
were sold and they were distributed among the neigh- 
boring towns. It is not improbable that Peter Cotelle, 
of Barnstable, was of this company a Frenchman 
who lived in a gambrel-roof ed cottage set in a pretty 
garden. He was a tinker by trade, and made shrewd 
use of his imperfect English, it is said, in driving a 
bargain. 

The Cape seems to have furnished no leaders in this 
war where so many famous men fought, but, steadily, 
she gave her quota of men and her money; and Amos 
Otis has preserved for our delectation the stories of 
many of the humbler folk of the time. There was a 
Barnstable man who had shipped as carpenter aboard 




B 



THE FRENCH WARS 113 

a privateer which soon brought into Boston as prize a 
Spanish ship laden with dollars and bullion. By some 
means the ship was made out to be French property, 
and the Yankee captain offered each of his men for 
prize money as much silver as he could carry from 
Long Wharf to the head of State Street, with the 
chance of forfeiting the whole if he stopped to rest by 
the way. Barnstable, apparently, cut his doth to fit 
his stature and came off with some two thousand 
dollars and a little hoard of silver to boot which he 
discovered in a ship's boat he had purchased. At any 
rate, he had enough to lay the foundation of a snug 
fortune which he augmented by becoming something 
of a usurer in his native town. As a young man his 
marriage had been delayed from year to year through 
a difference with his sweetheart as to where they 
should live. He preferred the village where he had 
learned his trade, she, being well-to-do, her own good 
farm at Great Marshes. In the end she prevailed; and 
no doubt, as one who knew her will and practised ef- 
fective methods to obtain it, contributed her due 
share to the family fortune- The grandchildren, Otis 
implies, "having no reverence for antiquity or love of 
hoarding/' made the dollars fly. 

A Gorham of this generation seems to have had an 
over-supply of such "reverence for antiquity " : he was 
so wedded to the customs of his fathers that he would 
not use a tipcart because they had none, and drove 
his team with a pole as they had done; he farmed by 
their methods, and made salt, though it were bad 
salt, by their mode of boiling. He had other oddities, 



114 OLD CAPE COD 

such as fastening his shirt in the back with a loop and 
nail, and eschewing rum in a time when the best kept 
tavern and drank thereat; he lived on salt-meat broth, 
bread and milk, hasty-pudding and samp; he was 
honest, industrious, a good neighbor and citizen, as 
valuable to the community, perhaps, as his more bril- 
liant kinsmen. 

A somewhat younger man than he, born in 1739, 
a doctor by profession, who seldom practised, had 
no such antipathy to rum, though it is said he never 
got drunk save at another's charge. At such times 
he obliged the company with "Old King Cole," his 
only song, and also with well-worn stories of some 
earlier adventures in Maine. There is record of a cer- 
tain Christmas party at Hyannis when at mid- 
night, song sung and story told, he was helped on his 
old gray mare for the journey home. Left to herself 
the mare would have taken him safe there, but he 
must needs turn into a narrow lane, where, in the bril- 
liant moonlight he spied the mild phosphorescence of 
a rotten log. A fire, thought he, very likely his own 
fire, and drew off his boots to warm his chilled feet. 
Resuming his journey, at dawn he came upon the 
highway and lashed his mare to the gallop, but, as 
it chanced, in the wrong direction. "Gentlemen/* 
cried he, drawing up to accost some early travellers, 
"can you tell me whether I am in this town or the 
next?" They answered cavalierly enough: "You're 
in this town now, but 't won't be long before you 're in 
the next at that rate/' And perceiving his state, they 
saw to it that he straightway had breakfast and 



THE FRENCH WARS 115 

boots. Nor was this the end of the affair, which the 
village boys improved for their amusement. A ring at 
his bell: "Doctor, just wanted to ask if you'd found 
your boots/' "Doctor, am I in this town or the 
next? " And they never failed to dodge the lash of his 
whip which he kept handy to the door for such visitors. 
He was the first village postmaster, and during the 
wars, when men were eager for the news which came 
bi-weekly from Boston, it was on mail nights that the 
boys and men of the village gathered about his fire and 
listened to his old stories of Maine. He was a genial 
soul, a little simple-minded, one who liked to make 
a show of business by laying out spurs and saddle- 
bags of a night as if ready for a call. The village li- 
brary was kept at his house, and administered by his 
daughter. 

The stories go on, with a touch here and a touch 
there to accent the village flavor. The Bodfishes, huge 
father and huge sons, lived a patriarchal life on their 
farm; for more than seventy years their estate was 
held in common, the father acting as trustee and 
granting his sons only as much as would qualify them 
for voters. And a scion of the less illustrious branch of 
a prominent family was ready to argue his claim for 
preeminence: "We'll discuss that," he would thunder 
with swelling port. And won the sobriquet of "Scus- 
sion Sam" for his pains. There was another member of 
the same family whose shrewd humor served as well 
as roguery. He was master of the little packet nick- 
named Somerset after the British man-of-war, which 
carried to Boston onions, among other cargo, for the 



116 OLD CAPE COD 

West Indies market. "Gentlemen/ 5 said he persua- 
sively to some possible buyers, "these are what are 
called c tarnity * onions; they'll keep to all eternity/ 5 
But a week out of port on their way to the south, the 
onions had to be thrown overboard. At another time 
he outsailed a neighbor who was shipping onions to a 
Salem trader, and presented his own cargo in their 
stead. "But how about Huckins?" asked the trader. 
"My son-in-law/' returned the captain glibly* "Here 
are the onions/* One may fancy that tavern 'and liv- 
ing-room buzzed with the news of this trick when the 
discomfited Huckins made the home port. Still 
another member of the family was of different mould 
one who gloried in the ease his poverty gave him. 
"I'm thankful I don't own that number of cattle/* 
commented he, watching a neighbor laboring over his 
stock on a snowy day. "Squire and I," said he again 
genially, "keep more cows than any other two men in 
town/* Squire, his brother, had twenty cows, he one. 
But the account of Barnabas Downs best typifies, 
perhaps, the tranquil village life that flowed on amid 
the outer turmoil of war and politics and finance. He 
was born in 1730 and lived long and laborious years on 
his thirty-acre farm, which supported some cattle, a 
horse or two, a large flock of sheep, and produced 
sufficient grain and vegetables. His stock ran at large 
through the summer; his winter hay he cut in the salt 
meadows. His clothing was made from the wool of his 
sheep; the surplus produce of his farm he traded for 
groceries at the village shop, and exchanged labor for 
labor with blacksmith, shoemaker, and carpenter. 



THE FRENCH WARS 117 

Sometimes lie shipped onions to Boston; but lie Bad 
little money, and needed little. And at this tame his 
class of small farmers made perhaps more than half 
the population in any one of the Cape towns except 
those, like Truro, where practically every man hi the 
community "went to sea" simple, industrious 
creatures, who lived comfortably by another stand- 
ard than ours, and were not unmindful of larger in- 
terests than their own. "He was the most independ- 
ent of men," is the comment of Otis. "Six days he 
labored and did all his work, and the seventh was a 
day of rest/* 



CHAPTER V 
THE ENGLISH WARS 

I 

THE difficulties incident to the French wars had 
given the colonies useful training to prepare them for 
concerted action against the stupid enactments of the 
mother country in the reign of George III. England, 
fully occupied with the great continental wars of 
which the American conflicts were only a by-product, 
had been forced largely to let the colonies fend for 
themselves. When border hostilities were growing to 
the final French and Indian War, she had suggested 
the expediency of their cooperating for defence; and 
just twenty-two years before the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence came into being, Benjamin Franklin had 
been ready to present to a Colonial Council, called to 
parley with the Six Nations, a plan of confederation 
which, being objected to by some as giving "too much 
power to the people" and by others as conceding 
"too much to the king," came to naught. But the 
fact was established that all the colonies, and not 
only those of New England, were learning to act to- 
gether. And the great drift away from mutual un- 
derstanding with England, which in the beginning, one 
would think, might have been so easily checked, in- 
creased. The colonies knew that by their valor chiefly 
had been established in America the supremacy of 



THE ENGLISH WARS 119 

England, and their youthful pride was quick to take 
offence. In 1760, when a Royal Governor, in his in- 
augural, cited "the blessings of subjection to Great 
Britain/ 5 the Massachusetts House was careful to 
express their "relation" to the Home Government. 
His predecessor, who had been more sympathetic to 
the genius of the colonies, lived to warn Parliament 
that never would America submit to injustice. Yet 
year by year was injustice done. As early as 1761 
oppressive trade acts had brought out the flaming 
eloquence of young James Otis, of Barnstable. "I 
argue in favor of British liberties," cried he in the 
Massachusetts Chamber. "I oppose the kind of 
power the exercise of which in former periods of Eng- 
lish history cost one king of England his head and 
another his throne/' For four hours, spellbound, the 
Court listened to his plea ; and well might John Adams, 
who heard hrm that day, aver: "American independ- 
ence was then and there born." And for the next ten 
years by his pamphlets, "The Vindication of the 
Conduct of the House of Representatives" and "The 
Rights of the British Colonies Asserted and Proved/* 
by his letters, and other writings, it has been truly 
said that Otis "led the movement for civil liberty in 
Massachusetts/' 

As if urged on to foolishness by a decree of fate 
that America should be a nation, England continued 
to blunder: she sought to extinguish the military spirit 
that had been so useful to her by creating a stand- 
ing army which, although independent of them, the 
colonies should support; she obstructed manufactur- 



120 OLD CAPE COD ' 

ing that the colonies might be dependent upon British 
markets; by prohibitive foreign duties she restricted 
trade to British ports, and even taxed trade between 
colony and colony for the benefit of the imperial 
treasury. No wonder the colonies were assured that 
England meant to get an undue portion of the war 
expense from them. And when Englishmen com- 
plained that rich colonists lived like lords while they 
were impoverished with taxes, the colonists were 
ready to retort that England had appropriated Can- 
ada, the prize won largely through their efforts, and 
that they had already taxed themselves to the limit 
to pay their own way. But England, undeterred by 
warnings at home and plain signs of storm in the 
colonies, still pleading "the vast debt" incurred "in 
defence of her American possessions/' in March, 1765, 
passed the obnoxious Stamp Act which prescribed the 
use of stamped paper for business and legal docu- 
ments, newspapers and pamphlets: an annoying 
enough provision in itself, but the crux of the diffi- 
culty was that England, without the consent of the 
colonies, imposed the tax. 

In October a congress of deputies met in New York 
to "consult on the common interest/' and was pre- 
sided over by Timothy Ruggles, who had married 
the Widow Bathsheba Newcomb, of Sandwich, and 
lived there for some years as lawyer and tavern- 
keeper. He is said to have been a man of charm and 
wit, a clever politician, and a patriot who later turned 
Tory. The congress set forth in no uncertain terms 
"the rights and liberties of the natural-born subjects 



THE ENGLISH WARS 121 

of Great Britain . . . which Parliament by its recent 
action has invaded." And pre-dating the Boston Tea 
Party, it was another man with Cape affiliations, 
Captain Isaac Sears, who, in other fashion, defeated 
the excisemen. "Hurrah, boys/* cried he at the head 
of a New York mob, "we will have the stamps/' And 
have them they did, and burned them, too. Sears be- 
came head of a Committee for Public Safety, and when 
Gage was trying to buy material in New York, 
warned the citizens that America best keep her sup- 
plies for her own use. His sobriquet of "King Sears 55 
tells us something of his personality. 

England, against the advice of her ablest men, 
proceeded on her ruinous way. Some parliamentary 
bombast about "these Americans nurtured so -are- 
fully by the motherland 55 was neatly punctured by 
Captain Barre, a member who had lived in the colo- 
nies: "Planted by your care? No, your oppressions 
planted them in America/ 5 thundered he. "Nour- 
ished by your indulgence? They grew by your neg- 
lect. Protected by your arms? They themselves have 
n'obly taken up arms in your defence/ 5 "They are too 
much like yourselves to be driven/ 5 was his parting 
shot. And in the Lords, Camden was announcing: 
"You have no right to tax America; I have searched 
the matter. I repeat it. ... Were I an American, I 
would resist to the last drop of my blood/ 5 Asked in 
what book he found such law, he proudly answered: 
"It has been the custom of England; and, my lords, 
the custom of England is the law of the land. 55 At Bos- 
ton, as in antiphon, James Otis declared: "Let Great 



122 OLD CAPE COD 

Britain rescind; if she does not, the colonies are lost to 
her/' 

A convention of towns, those of the Cape included, 
calling upon the king for redress, appealed to "the 
sovereign people." The king's ministers answered by 
garrisoning Boston with four thousand royal troops 
which the TVhigs were now ready to view as a foreign 
aggression. Non-importation associations, under the 
motto, ."United we conquer; divided we die/' were 
formed Boston leading, the Cape towns following 
close. In the general excitement Massachusetts boiled 
hottest: for in her capital were the royal troops and 
here, naturally, was the first clash of arms. The year 
1770 brought the "Boston massacre"; and in the 
same year, under Lord North, all duties were remitted 
save those on tea England had bound herself to 
the East India Company there: to no avail, since the 
right to tax was reserved. Yet the repeal was wel- 
comed as a partial victory by all but the hot-heads 
who were determined on separation; and Englishmen, 
who had taken a burning interest in the struggle of 
the colonies, rejoiced. London celebrated the event 
with clash of Bow Bells and dressed ships on the 
Thames* 

Then, in 1773, came the little fleet of tea ships to 
Boston; and Boston, though she liked tea, promptly 
threw it into the harbor. Captain Benjamin Gorham, 
of the Barnstable family, was master of one of the 
ships, with a cargo of "Bohea"; and it was solemnly 
reported that "this evening a number of Indians, it is 
said of his Majesty of Ocnookortunkoog tribe, emp- 



t THE ENGLISH WARS 123 

tied every chest into the dock and destroyed the 
whole twenty-eight and a half chests." And Cape 
Cod had her private Tea Party: for one of the fleet 
had run aground on the "Back Side" at Province- 
town. John Greenough, district clerk of Wellfleet and 
teacher of a grammar school "attended by such only 
as learn the Latin and Greek languages/* busied him- 
self about the task of transferring the cargo to Boston; 
but no Cape captain, though several were idle, would 
undertake the job, and boats were had down from 
Boston for the purpose. The Boston Committee of 
Correspondence, meantime, sent out a circular letter 
reporting their Tea Party, and adding: "the people 
at the Cape will we hope behave with propriety and 
as becomes men resolved to save their Country." For 
it was suspected that not all the wrecked tea had 
been shipped to Boston; and indeed it soon transpired 
that Master Greenough, seeing no harm since the 
Government got no duty, had thriftily retained two 
damaged cases for himself and a friend. Brought to 
see his error, his due apology was spread upon the 
records : "I do declare I had no intention to injure the 
liberties of my countrymen therein. And whereas the 
Committee of Correspondence for this district appre- 
hend that I have abused them, in a letter I sent them, 
I do declare I had no such intention, and wish to be 
reconciled to them again and to forget and forgive on 
both sides." Other tea than Greenough's hoard was 
being hunted out. A Truro town-meeting records: 
"Several persons appeared of whom it had been 
reported that they had purchased small quantities of 



124 OLD CAPE COD 

the East India company's baneful teas, lately cast 
ashore at Provincetown. On examining these persons 
it appeared that their buying this noxious tea was 
through ignorance and inadvertance, and that they 
were induced thereto by the villainous example and 
artful persuading of some noted pretended friends of 
government from the neighboring towns." There is 
evidence enough that some tea floated into the chan- 
nels of trade; but any one guilty of the traffic, 
when apprehended, was quick to place the blame 
elsewhere. 

The Cape was drawn into the great sweep of events. 
Town meetings were held to consider the alarming 
conditions; yet, even in the general pinch for money, 
maintenance was steadily voted for schools and clergy, 
though it was suggested that a minister might abate 
his salary "because of the scarcity of money and the 
difficulties of the times; or wait for the balance. 55 And 
one parson, we know, did give up fifty pounds of his 
stipend. Business was at a standstill, and many per- 
sons, for financial rather than political reasons as yet, 
left Harwich, Chatham, and other towns for Nova 
Scotia, the better there to trade and carry on the 
fisheries. "Sons of Liberty" were organized every- 
where; each town must report its strength "on the 
side of liberty." Yarmouth would have no tea brought 
into the town; in Chatham "a large number signed 
against tea"; Wellfleet pledged itself to the "defence 
of liberty " ; Barnstable, Sandwich, Eastham had their 
resolutions of protest. Falmouth, in 1774, ordered 
every man from sixteen to sixty years of age to be 



THE ENGLISH WARS 125 

given arms. Harwich voted to buy arms; Tntro voted 
sympathy with the common cause. And Chatham, in 
1772, had declared "civil and religious principles to be 
the sweetest and essential part of their lives, without 
which the remainder was scarcely worth preserving." 
England had gone beyond unjust taxation and had 
dared meddle with the courts the trial by jury, 
the appointees to the bench which was held to 
vitiate their function. "I argue ill favor of British 
liberties," had been James Otis's clarion call; and at 
Barnstable, in September, 1774, a fine comedy was 
played out with the connivance, it was suspected, of 
James Otis, senior, who was chief justice of the Court 
of Common Pleas. He was to be charged with "hold- 
ing office during the king's pleasure" and receiving 
pay from revenue derived by an "edict of foreign 
despotism." On the day preceding the opening of the 
court men from as far away as Middleborough came 
flooding into Sandwich; and next morning a small 
army marched thence to Barnstable to make their pro- 
test to he court. At their head was Doctor Nathaniel 
Freeman, a young hot-head of a Whig, who was leader 
in many a demonstration against the Tories, and later 
was to put his martial spirit to good use as brigadier- 
general in the Federal Army. He was a gallant figure, 
an eye-witness of the day's doings remembered, in "a 
handsome black-lapelled coat, a tied wig as white as 
snow, a set-up hat with the point a little to the right: 
in short, he had the very appearance of fortitude per- 
sonified." Joined now by Barnstable men, the patriots 
took their stand in front of the courthouse* They 



126 OLD CAPE COD 

improved the interval of waiting for the court to 
receive the recantations of several Tories who had 
been arrested by the Commissioners and when it 
came to a public declaration of sentiment were dis- 
posed, for the most part, as a current doggerel had it, 
to 

"... renounce tlie Pope, the Turk, 
The King, the Devil, and all his work; 
And if you will set me at ease, 
Turn Whig or Christian what you please." 

Now, behold, the court: Otis, Winslow, Bacon, led 
by the sheriff with a white staff in his left hand and a 
drawn sword in his right. "Gentlemen," demanded 
Otis, "what is the purpose for which this vast as- 
semblage is collected here?" Whereupon Freeman, 
from tHe steps of the court-house, replied in a fine 
speech, the upshot of which was that they proposed 
to prevent their honors from holding court to the end, 
particularly, that there should be no appeals to the 
hated higher court of the king's council, "well know- 
ing if they have no business, they can do no harm." 

"Sirs, you obstruct the law," thundered Otis. Then, 
more mildly, "Why do you leap before you come to 
the hedge?" He ordered them to disperse, and cited 
his "duty." "We shall continue to do ours,"countered 
Freeman. "And never," cries one who saw the play, 
"never have I seen any man whatever who felt quite 
so cleverly as did Doctor Freeman during the whole 
of this business." 

The court withdrew, and, waited upon later by a 
committee, signed an agreement not to accept any 



. THE ENGLISH WARS 127 

commission or do any business dependent on those 
acts of Parliament that tend "to change our consti- 
tution into a state of slavery." The protestants 
crowned their work by calling upon all justices and 
sheriffs of the county to sign the agreement, and by 
adjuring all military officers to refuse service under 
the captain-general "who is appointed to reduce us to 
obedience to the late unconstitutional acts and who 
has actually besieged the capital of this province with 
a fleet and army." Barnstable and Yarmouth, having 
been interrogated as to whether they had dropped 
the legislators voting against the Continental Con- 
gress, their affirmation was received with cheers. That 
night some damage was done the new Liberty Pole, 
which was surmounted by a gilt ball, one of the 
"miscreants" blazoning thereon: 

"Your liberty pole 

I dare be bold 
Appears like Dagon bright, 

But it will fall 

And make a scrawl 
Before the morning light.*! 

Business ran over into the next day, when one of 
the suspects in the affair of the Liberty Pole, whether 
or not the poet is not recorded, was made to apologize. 
Again the assembly, in committee of the whole and 
"attended by music," waited upon Otis, who was 
lodged at the house of Mr. Davis. Adjured in writing 
not to sit in the king's council, but rather as a "con- 
stitutional councillor of this province" in the elected 
General Court at Salem, in writing he expressed 



128 OLD CAPE COD 

gratitude "for putting me in mind of my duty; I am 
determined to attend at Salem in case my health per- 
mits." To the reading of his message listened "the 
whole body with heads uncovered and then gave 
three cheers in token of their satisfaction and high 
appreciation of his answer as well as esteem and ven- 
eration for his person and character/' In final session 
the company again repudiated the hated acts of Par- 
liament and pledged themselves to the sacred cause of 
liberty, registered their abhorrence of mobs and vio- 
lence, warned ofl any other molesters of the Liberty 
Pole, and agreed to use their "endeavors to suppress 
common peddlers." The last a matter of some mys- 
tery until one knows that peddlers were prone to sell 
tea, and were perhaps suspected of being spies. Barn- 
stable had entertained the host gratis, and the hottest 
patriot there must have welcomed its withdrawal to 
Sandwich, where it proceeded to take like action 
against Tories and possible meddlers with the town's 
Liberty Pole. Then, amid cheers for everybody, Doc- 
tor Freeman's company broke up and sifted back to 
their homes, but he himself was not to come scathless 
out of his adventure. 

Suspecting a ruse when, a few nights later, he was 
summoned to a dying patient, he was not to be dis- 
appointed: for as he passed the tavern, three of the 
"recanters" appeared as a "Committee of the Body 
of the People" and demanded his presence within to 
answer for his actions. Ignoring them, he walked on, 
but on his return he was set upon by the "Commit- 
tee," it is said, and crying out that his sword-cane 



THE ENGLISH WARS 129 

was bis only weapon lie laid about Mm valiantly, but 
was knocked senseless, and would have been in hard 
case had he not been rescued by friends. The whole 
community, it seemed, was against such lawlessness. 
The so-called Tories who had not fled were arrested, 
and on the plea of Freeman got off with a fine of one 
hundred pounds "lawful money." But the people 
showed no such clemency. Sandwich, after an indig- 
nation meeting of the citizens, rearrested the culprits 
and forced them, on a scaffold under the Liberty 
Pole, to sign a confession acknowledging that their 
conduct was such as "would disgrace the character 
of a ruffian or a Hottentot," and engaging themselves 
in future "religiously to regard the laws of God and 



man." 



The Tories, for the most part, were no such 
"Hottentots." It was natural in such a settlement as 
Cape Cod that there should be many conservatives: 
men descended from those who had never failed in 
loyalty to the English Government, were it Stuart 
or Roundhead, who had been taught to love England 
as the home of their fathers, and the source of law 
and light. As late as 1766 even Franklin was declaring 
before a parliamentary committee that "to be an Old 
England man was of itself a character of respect and 
gave a kind of rank among us," and "they considered 
Parliament as the great bulwark and security of their 
liberties." There were as a fact four parties : the ardent 
Whigs like Nathaniel Freeman, who were separa- 
tists at all costs; the irreconcilable Tories who, when 
war was imminent, fled behind the British lines in 



130 OLD CAPE COD 

Boston or New York, or to Nova Scotia and Canada, 
or to England, and, in the case of Cape Cod, often to 
the islands southward where they could be in easy 
communication with British ships. And there were 
the moderates of both camps: Whigs whose sensi- 
bilities were offended by the extreme methods of the 
radicals; Tories, chiefly men of the older generation, 
who lacked pliancy and vision to respond to a newer 
order; and with the latter were ranged, at any rate at 
the beginning of the trouble, those who loved freedom, 
they could swear, yet loved better present securities 
and feared conflict with the might of Britain. As time 
went on the number of moderate Whigs steadily in- 
creased, especially in the Old Colony as befitted the 
sober temper of the Pilgrim inheritance; even Joseph 
Otis, of Barnstable, who had rivalled Doctor Nathan- 
iel Freeman in fervor, was to join them, and the luke- 
warm, patriots or Tories, were ready to declare for the 
colonies. Even a Tory in exile could be secretly elated 
by the prowess of his countrymen; and one such in 
England confided to his diary that "these conceited 
islanders" may learn to their cost that "our con- 
tinent can furnish brave soldiers and judicious ex- 
pert commanders." It speaks well for the Federal- 
ists that after the war was over and many extreme 
Tories who had left their homes petitioned to re- 
turn, they were reinstated upon pledge of loyalty to 
the new State: whether restored as generously to the 
affection of their neighbors history does not record, 
but one may fancy children's gibes to the third gen- 
eration. In Sandwich there were many Tories who 



THE ENGLISH WARS 131 

were brought to conform; but it is said there was 
still much disaffection, and when the Declaration of 
Independence was read out by the parson on a cer- 
tain Sunday, a Tory who was much esteemed in the 
neighborhood "trooped scornfully and indignantly 
out of meeting." 

At Cape Cod the feud between Tory and Whig 
took on a comedy aspect in comparison with the 
vindictive civil war which it presented in many 
counties of New York and in the southern colonies. 
At Truro, as late as 1774, the house of a Whig doctor 
was attacked, and many still refused to employ "him; 
a parson, for receiving a number of prominent Whigs, 
was admonished by some of his parishioners. At 
Barnstable the parties had their headquarters in 
rival taverns; and at Sturgis's, where Whigs met 
every evening to comment on the news, the dis- 
cussion, running high between moderates and radi- 
cals, sometimes slopped over into action. After one 
such meeting a man who had criticised the system of 
espionage that wasted energy in ferreting out old 
women's secret stores of tea, had his fence destroyed 
by his irate neighbors. Otis and Freeman, it seems,, 
were not popular with the militia who, at a review 
one day, clubbed muskets instead of presenting arms. 
"The Crockers are at the bottom of this," cried 
Joseph Otis. "You lie," gave back Captain Samuel 
Crocker. A fight between the two naturally ensued; 
in the midst of which Freeman, who was not the man 
to be an inactive spectator, turned upon another 
Crocker, a moderate Whig in politics, followed him 



132 OLD CAPE COD 

into his house, slashing at him harmlessly enough, 
and in his turn was like to have been murdered by a 
younger member of the Crockers thirsting for ven- 
geance. Freeman's cutlass took effect only upon the 
"summer beam" of the house; and years afterwards, 
when it was used as a tavern, Freeman, who had 
come from Sandwich to attend court, was refused 
entertainment there. "My house is full," quoth 
Madam Crocker. She pointed to the scars of the 
"summer beam." "And if it were not, there would 
be no room for Colonel Freeman." "Time to forget 
those old matters, and bury the hatchet/ 5 protested 
Freeman. "Very like," said she, "but the aggressor 
should dig the grave.'* 

A certain young woman, suspected of disloyalty, 
and asked by the Vigilance Committee whether she 
were a Tory, answered in four emphatic words which 
the record leaves us to imagine from the dark com- 
ment: "The Committee never forgot them and ever 
after treated her with respect." This woman, Amos 
Otis tells us, never lost her youthful vivacity; even in 
old age she was gay, responsive, able to discuss with 
equal zest the latest novel or parson's sermon. Her 
wit was keen, and the point "never blunted in order 
to avoid an allusion which prudery might condemn." 

There was a more serious business in the tarring 
and feathering of the Widow Nabby Freeman of which 
the towns-people were sufficiently ashamed, evidently, 
to charge it in turn to Whig and Tory. Freeman, in 
his history, says she was a Whig, the victim of Tory 
spite; Otis, with convincing detail, that she was a 



THE ENGLISH WARS 133 

Tory* She kept a small grocery, and refused to sur- 
render her tea to be destroyed by the Vigilance Com- 
mittee. She was "a thorn in their sides she could 
out-talk any of them, was fascinating in her manners, 
and had an influence which she exerted, openly and 
defiantly, against the patriotic men who were then 
hazarding their fortunes and their lives in the strug- 
gle for American independence/* Both narratives 
agree in the fact: she was taken from her bed to the 
village green, smeared with tar and feathers, set 
astride a rail and ridden about the town. We may 
fancy the tongue-lashing her persecutors received in 
the process. At last they exacted from her a promise 
that in the future she would keep clear of politics. 
The men who carried through this cruel comedy were 
not eager to be known; yet it is said feeling against the 
Tories ran so high that even in Sandwich, which had 
lamented the harsh treatment of Quakers, a strong 
party justified the act. But that public sentiment did 
not approve such rowdyism is proved by the fact that 
it stands out alone in unlovely prominence. 

It is probable that many a private grudge was 
worked off in this cry of "Tory, Tory." When Joseph 
Otis, brother of the patriot, cited a prominent towns- 
man for disaffection, the court held the accusation to 
proceed "rather from an old family quarrel and was 
the effect of envy rather than matter of truth and 
sobriety, or any view to the publick good." And when 
as a deacon he had been haled before the church for 
his political opinions, the church decided that it had 
"no right to call its members to an account for 



134 ^ OLD CAPE COD 

actions of a civil and public nature," that the pro- 
testants " did not charge the deacon with immorality " 
and that it "begged leave to refer them to a civil 
tribunal." It is further recorded in a later month that 
the affair between the deacon and "the brethren, 
styled petitioners, was happily accommodated." 

Until the actual clash of arms, many believed that 
there might be found some ground for reconciliation; 
but England was blinded by jealous tradesmen and 
foolish politicians, hot blood in the colonies was all 
for separation. Events swept beyond the control of 
statesmen, and all were carried on to the vortex of 
revolution. In a speech from the throne George III 
asserted that "a most daring resistance to the laws," 
encouraged by the other colonies, existed in Massachu- 
setts. Again Camden spoke in defence of the colonies: 
"They say truly taxation and representation must go 
together. This wise people speak out. They do not 
ask you to repeal the laws as a favor; they claim it as 
a right." But Parliament charged the Americans with 
"wishing to become independent" and as for any 
danger of revolt, determined "to crush the monster 
in its birth at any price or hazard." They were to have 
a good run for their money. 

ii 

IN no long time the king's men were marching out to 
Concord and Lexington; and with the actual shed- 
ding of blood, messengers, on the Sunday, rode out 
post-haste to rouse the country. "War is ^egun," 
cried they at church doors. "War, war," broke in 



THE ENGLISH WARS 135 

upon hymn or parson's prayer; and from pulpit and 
people rose the solemn response: "To arms: liberty 
or death." 

The radicals were jubilant. Mr. Watson, of Ply- 
mouth, wrote to his friend Freeman congratulations 
upon the spirit of Sandwich, where Freeman had or- 
dered the royal arms burned by the common hang- 
man. "We are in high spirits/ 5 wrote Watson, "and 
don't think it is in the power of all Europe to sub- 
jugate us/' "The Lord of Hosts fights on the side of 
the Yankees," averred he. "I glory in the name." 
Yet Watson, an ardent patriot, in the course of a 
political quarrel of later years, was denounced to 
Jefferson as an old Tory, and was conveniently re- 
moved from office. 

But sober men were preparing to meet the cost of 
choosing between a man's way and a child's. Cape 
Cod, in particular, with a defenceless coast and the 
probable interruption of her fisheries and commerce, 
faced ruin; but, four-square, she stood for freedom. 
Immediately upon the news of fighting, two compa- 
nies of militia from Barnstable and Yarmouth took 
the road, but returned on word that the royal troops 
were held in Boston. With them, that day, piping 
them out with fifes, were two boys who, when they 
were sent back, "borrowed" an old horse grazing by 
the roadside to give them a mount homeward. One 
boy became solicitor-general, the other a judge, and 
one day there chanced to be a case of prosecution 
for horse-thieving between them. "Davy," whispered 
Judge Thacher, leaning from the bench, "this puts 



136 OLD CAPE COD 

me in mind of the horse we stole that day in Barn- 
stable/' 

As the militia had marched down the county road, 
an old farmer halted them. "God be with you all, my 
friends/' said he as one who would consecrate their 
enterprise. "And John, my son, if you are called into 
battle, take care that you behave like a man or else 
let me never see your face again/* A Harwich father, 
when he had heard of the first blood spilled, cried out 
to his son: "Eben, you're the only one can be spared. 
Take your gun and go. Fight for religion and liberty/' 
And that boy and others who joined on the instant 
were ready to fight at Bunker Hill. 

Yet there had been no open declaration of cutting 
loose from the mother country; and the colonists 
seem to have had no more deliberate intention of 
founding a nation than had the Pilgrims of declaring 
a new principle of government. The second Continen- 
tal Congress had recommended a day of prayer and 
humiliation "to implore the blessings of Heaven on 
our sovereign the King of England and the inter- 
position of divine aid to remove the grievances of the 
people and restore harmony/' The Cape, a sturdy in- 
heritor of the Pilgrim spirit, seems to have been an 
early advocate of state rights. In 1778 Barnstable ap- 
pointed a committee to pass upon the proposed union. 
"It appears to us," said Barnstable, "that the power 
of congress is too great. . . . But if during the present 
arduous conflict with Great Britain it may be judged 
necessary to vest such extra powers in a continental 
congress, we trust that you will use your endeavors 



THE ENGLISH WARS 137 

that the same shall be but temporary." "The Ply- 
mouth spirit, which nearly a century before had been 
shy of a union with Massachusetts, " writes Palfrey, 
"was now equally averse to a consolidated govern- 
ment which should implicate the concerns of Massa- 
chusetts too much with those of other states." 

Bunker Hill was fought, and by July Washington, 
as commander-in-chief, was in residence at Cam- 
bridge. When he called for troops to man Dorchester 
Heights, Captain Joshua Gray marched through 
Yarmouth with a drummer, calling for volunteers, 
and eighty-one men responded. The night was spent 
in preparation, the women moulding bullets and 
making cartridges, and by dawn the little company, 
equipped for war, was ready to take the road. As was 
natural, fishermen and sailors, when they could, en- 
listed in the infant navy. But the call for men pressed 
until even Joseph Otis protested: "We have more 
men in the land and sea service than our proportion," 
and "there is scarcely a day that the enemy is not 
within gun-shot of some part of our coast. It is like 
dragging men from home when their houses are on 
fire, but I will do my best to comply." An additional 
grievance lay in the fact that the Cape troops seem 
to have been sent largely to Rhode Island. And Otis 
added that it was unreasonable "to detach men from 
their property, wives and children to protect the 
town of Providence in the heart of the State of 
Rhode Island." 

Wellfleet, deprived of its fisheries, was all but 
ruined; Provincetown, with its few inhabitants who 



138 OLD CAPE COD 

had not fled, was entirely at the disposal of the enemy 
fleet when it rode snugly at anchor in the harbor. 
But even these towns struggled to furnish their 
quota to feed the desperate need; and Mashpee 
Indians, as we know, played their part so nobly that 
the war's end saw seventy widows in the little com- 
munity. 

But there were malcontents enough to induce pre- 
caution, and the Provincial Congress had immediately 
provided for disarming the disaffected. In Barn- 
stable there had been so many of little courage that 
in 1776 it had voted against supporting the Congress 
if it should declare for independence rather than 
stand out simply for constitutional liberty; and when 
the draft was resorted to and some men "refused to 
march/ 5 their fines and costs were paid by the loyal- 
ists of Barnstable and Sandwich. In August Colonel 
Joseph Otis and Nathaniel Freeman were appointed 
to round up suspects on the Cape, a task, we may 
guess, much to their liking. In December Major 
Dimmock, who had fought at Ticonderoga in the 
French War, was commanded to "repair to Nan- 
tucket and arrest such as are guilty of supplying the 
enemy with provisions." Tories from the mainland 
had fled thither, and they were not only in constant 
communication with British ships, but manned many 
of the ships that harried the coast. 

The Cape made a brave attempt to keep up its 
trade, and voyages were made with the permission of 
the General Court, "always provided that the said 
fish &c., shall not be cleared out for any of his Britan- 



THE ENGLISH WARS 139 

nic Majesty's dominions." But affairs were in des- 
perate case, and loyalists plotted with some show of 
reason that they had chosen the winning side. Otis 
reports on October 2: "Yesterday the Tories in the 
Sound, about a league off Highano's harbor, took 
a vessel bound out of said harbor to Stonington and 
drove another ashore on the eastward part of Fal- 
mouth. In short the refugees have got a number of 
Vineyard pilot-boats (about twenty) and man them, 
and run into our shores and take everything that 
floats." Nevertheless, he engages to get two small 
vessels, if they will give him guns, and "scour the 
Sound/ 5 On October 12 the head of "a refugee gang in 
the Sound" sent a flag of truce to ask an exchange of 
prisoners. And in this same month the General Court 
appropriated money for four cannon, four to nine- 
pounders no formidable armament for the long 
coast-line of the Cape. But the Sound, especially, 
was the scene of many an adventure, and enemy 
raids upon its shores seem to have been prompted 
largely by a desire for fresh meat. In 1779 marauders 
drove away some cattle from farms near Wood's 
Hole, but were surprised and put off to their ships 
without their booty; an attack in force was planned 
against Falmouth, but was received by such hot fire 
from the shore that the ships were driven out into the 
Sound; at Wood's Hole, again, they met with a like 
reception. But the Sound the Britishers succeeded in 
making their own. Nevertheless, one hundred men, 
under Colonel Dimmock, were sent over for the 
defence of Martha's Vineyard; and among other 



140 OLD CAPE COD 

exploits Dimmock captured an enemy vessel in Old 
Town Harbor, and took her crew, under hatches, to 
Hyannis whence they were sent overland to Boston. 
A Federal grain vessel, as it entered the Sound one 
day, fell into the hands of the British; but its captain 
escaped, roused Captain Dimmock, who got together 
twenty men and three whaleboats, next morning 
retook the prize from under the nose of the British 
at Tarpaulin Cove, and made safe harbor at Martha's 
Vineyard. 

The outer coast was blockaded, but sometimes a 
boat from Boston or the fishing-grounds would slip 
through; sometimes, even, such a one would be al- 
lowed to pass. None other than the great Nelson 
Lieutenant Nelson he was then, in command of His 
Majesty's Ship Albemarle stationed that year in Cape 
Cod Bay released the Schooner Harmony, Ply- 
mouth owned, to its captain "on account of his good 
services," as pilot, we may guess. Nor was the rela- 
tion of fleet and mainland wholly unfriendly. These 
straight Britishers were much better liked by the peo- 
ple than the loyalist refugees that, for the most part, 
manned the hostile boats off Wood's Hole and Fal- 
mouth. English officers often landed and called upon 
the people, or attended church; one ship's surgeon 
even found opportunity to fall in love with a Truro 
girl, and win her, too; and after the war, he resigned 
His Majesty's service, married his sweetheart, and 
settled down to the village practice. The Reverend 
"William Hazlett, a Briton," baptized several chil- 
dren at Truro in 1785. Rich thinks he may have been 



THE ENGLISH WARS 141 

a retired navy chaplain, but it seems quite as rea- 
sonable to suppose that he was the father of William 
Hazlitt, the essayist, who, at about that time, hap- 
pened to be in Weymouth. As early as December, 
1776, a committee was appointed to "acquaint his 
excellency, General Washington, with the importance 
of Cape Cod Harbor and consider with him on some 
method to deprive the enemy of the advantage they 
now receive therefrom/' But to the end of hostilities 
the English fleet continued to enjoy that advantage, 
though, as we have seen, they were content to use 
their ships for blockade purposes rather than their 
men to molest the inhabitants. The British seem to 
have been able to get needed supplies by purchase 
instead of bloodshed, although there is some evidence 
of disturbance ashore. Mr. Rich in his history of 
Truro tells us of a man who, one fine evening, was 
enjoying a pipe under an apple-tree on his farm near 
High Head when stray shots from a man-of-war came 
ploughing up the ground near him. And once the 
militia captain at Truro, believing a raid imminent, 
used the clever ruse of boldly parading his tiny " corn- 
stalk brigade 9 * in and out among the dunes near Pond 
Village for two hours; and he frightened off the Brit- 
ish, he averred, by such a demonstration of strength. 
By sea Truro men did not get off so easily. In 1775 
David Snow and his son, a lad of fifteen, were fishing 
off the "Back Side" one day when they were cap- 
tured by an enemy frigate known, significantly, as 
"the shaving-mill." They were taken to England and 
locked up, with other Yankee prisoners, in the Old 



142 OLD CAPE COD 

Mill Prison near Plymouth, where they set their wits 
at work on methods of escape. Mr. Snow, one night, 
proposed a dance, when the fiddle squeaked its loud- 
est and the dancers shuffled noisily in heavy brogans, 
to drown the noise of the file that willing hands kept 
hard at work eating at the bars. Thirty-six men, un- 
der cover of the hilarity, succeeded in slipping out 
into the yard, overpowered the guard, walked the 
fifteen miles to Plymouth Harbor, boarded a scow, 
and before daylight were afloat in the Channel. There 
they captured a small boat, and set sail for France 
where they sold their prize for hard cash. Snow and 
Ms son receiving as their share forty dollars. The 
French Government, when occasion served, set them 
on the shore of Carolina whence they finally worked 
their way overland to Boston, took boat for Province- 
town, and so home again to Truro. Seven years had 
been consumed in the adventure, and they had long 
been mourned as dead. The boy was now a man, but a 
quick-eyed girl cried, as she saw him: "If that is n't 
David Snow, it's his ghost." And the father found 
his wife " spending the afternoon " with her sewing, at 
a neighbor's. Another Truro lad was of the crew that 
rowed Benedict Arnold out to the Vulture, and when 
he knew the significance of that night's story, fearing 
that he might be implicated in a charge of treason, he 
fled straight to Canada. There he married, and it was 
forty-eight years before he returned to visit his old 
home. A Yarmouth man was one of the gallant 
Andre's guards the night before his execution, and 
lamented his unhappy fate. And Watson Freeman, of 



THE ENGLISH WAHS 143 

Sandwich, who in 1754 at the age of fourteen had 
joined the expedition to Canada, fought in the Revo- 
lution, and was present at the taking of Burgoyne in 
1777. The next year he was stationed with General 
Sullivan on Long Island, where, being one of a 
"foraging party" that was surprised by the enemy 
in the relaxation of attending a ball, he received a 
sabre-cut on the forehead that scarred "him for life. 
Later, having joined an uncle who commanded a 
privateer, he was taken prisoner by the enemy, 
wounded in an encounter between them and a French 
boat, invalided to a hospital at Portsmouth, England, 
and discharged as incurable. Wandering about the 
country, he came upon an old herb-woman who 
proved wiser than the doctors, and he lived to amass 
a fortune in Boston as an "importer of English goods 
and concerned also in navigation/' 

Nor did the British cruisers have things all their 
own way. Swift-sailing privateers were fitted out 
Cape Cod sailors we may be sure eager for such 
service and in the two years between 1776 and 
1778 nearly eight hundred prizes had been captured; 
while during the war nearly two hundred thousand 
tons of British shipping were taken by privateers that 
were manned largely by fishermen. 

Certainly, whether of men high in council or of the 
rank and file, Cape Cod furnished her due share in the 
conflict: unnamed sailors and soldiers, brave men all; 
Nathaniel Freeman, Joseph Otis, Dimmock; and, 
greater than all, the James Otises, father and son. 
From the evacuation of Boston in 1776 to 1780 when 



144 OLD CAPE COD 

the new government was established, Massachusetts 
affairs were in the hands of the Council that was 
elected annually as provided by the charter of William 
and Mary; of this Council Colonel James Otis, as, 
senior member, was presiding officer and virtually 
the Governor of the Province. James, the patriot, 
never entirely recovered from the effects of a das- 
tardly assault in 1769, and in 1783 he was killed by a 
stroke of lightning as he stood in his doorway at 
Andover. The last years of his life were dark with 
tragedy. His daughter, to his great grief, had mar- 
ried an English officer, who was wounded at Bunker 
Hill; his son, James, third of the name, had enlisted 
as a midshipman and died, at twenty-one, on the 
notorious British prison-ship Jersey. But the patriot 
had accomplished his great work. And of him John 
Adams well said: "I have been young and now am 
old, and I solemnly say I have never known a man 
whose love of country was more ardent and sincere 
never one who suffered so much never one whose 
services for any ten years of his life were so important 
and essential to the cause of his country as those of 
Mr. Otis from 1760 to 1770." 

in 

AFFAIRS moved on toward peace, and on April 19, 
just eight years after Lord Percy had set out on his 
expedition to Concord and Lexington, Washington 
proclaimed an armistice. But joy in the victory was 
tempered for thoughtful men: if it had cost England 
a hundred million pounds and fifty thousand men to 



THE ENGLISH WARS 145 

lose her colonies, tlie relative price they paid for 
independence was far greater. The currency was 
practically worthless, the soldiers and their families 
were destitute, the salaries of public officers and 
clergy but a pittance. Each State wanted to secure its 
revenue to its own use, which ensured conflict with 
the Federal Government; the individual, in his meagre 
circumstances, grudged any contribution to such reve- 
nue, which ensured conflict between the State and its 
citizens. That the general unrest was present in Barn- 
stable County is evident from a proclamation of the 
Government calling upon "the good people of said 
county for their aid and assistance" in handling a 
rumored attempt to "obstruct the sitting of the 
Court at Barnstable/' But in the main the people 
who had broken the might of Britain now, war ended, 
applied themselves with like energy to recovering 
from its effects. And in spite of war and threatened 
ruin the Cape had continued its healthy growth. 

In 1793 Dennis, which had long functioned as a 
separate town, was incorporated; its name derived 
from that of the first minister of the East Precinct of 
Yarmouth, the Reverend Josiah Dennis. In 1797 
Orleans was set off from Eastham; and in 1803 the 
North Parish of Harwich, the older in point of settle- 
ment, became Brewster. It was then that argument 
for and against division hit upon the extraordinary 
compromise that irreconcilables of the North Parish, 
"together with such widows as live therein and re- 
quest it, have liberty to remain, with their families 
and estates, to the town of Harwich/' No less than 



146 OLD CAPE COD 

sixty-five persons, including two widows, stiff-necked 
old conservatives we may guess, filed such request 
with the town clerk and the Secretary of the Com- 
monwealth, Here was an arrangement well calculated 
to nourish old animosities, which, in the natural 
course of things, had to be abandoned. Nor was the 
new town slow in making her voice heard: in 1810 she 
was remonstrating against the appointment of a cer- 
tain postmaster, "he being a foreigner and in the opin- 
ion of the inhabitants an alien." A little later she was 
petitioning "the Postmaster General, praying him to 
fix the day of the week and the hour of the day in 
which the post-rider shall arrive at Brewster on his 
way down the Cape, and also on his return, and that 
the Committee of Safety attend to this matter/' And 
she was one of the loudest to protest against the Em- 
bargo Act of 1807. 

America had been making no small profit during 
the Napoleonic wars that wrecked Europe. By wise 
federal legislation trade and credit gradually righted, 
and the neutrality of the United States permitted 
lucrative intercourse with all the belligerents. But 
American traders took their risks, and by no means 
came off scatheless: England and France had estab- 
lished mutual blockades; their ships preyed upon the 
Yankee blockade-runners, their captains impressed 
captured American seamen. England by the British 
Orders in Council, Prance by the Berlin and Milan 
decrees, all but put an end to our commerce, and the 
coup de grace threatened when, in 1807, the United 
States hoped to save her ships by declaring an em- 



THE ENGLISH WARS 147 

bargo on all outgoing shipping. As between England 
and America, there were accusations and counter- 
accusations that the other country was not carrying 
out the provisions of their peace treaty, nor had the 
old Tory and Whig animosities of the Revolution 
had time to die; and the whole exasperating state 
of affairs worked out to a formal declaration of war 
against England in 1812. 

Brewster, in solemn town-meeting assembled, had 
inveighed thus against the Embargo Act: "That 
imperious necessity calls upon us loudly to remon- 
strate" against the embargo laws "as unjust in their 
nature, unequal in their operation, a cruel infringe- 
ment of our most precious rights.' 5 In impassioned 
words she memorialized the General Court: "Whilst 
the mouth of labor is forbidden to eat, the language 
of complaint is natural. With ruin at our doors, and 
poverty staring us in the face, we beseech, conjure 
and implore your honorable body to obtain a redress 
of the oppressive grievances under which we suffer." 
And Brewster, having thus recorded her protest, felt 
herself free to join in the sport of evading the new 
law. It was a boat owned there, captured by a reve- 
nue cutter and taken into Provincetown, that was re- 
captured by the owners who had hurriedly fitted up a 
packet as a man-of-war, and cleared off for her port of 
Surinam, while the United States Marshal whistled 
for any satisfaction he could get. 

A more complicated adventure befell two Cape 
men, Mayo and Hill, who were of the crew of Captain 
Paine, of Truro. In 1811 they cleared for Mediter- 



148 OLD CAPE COD 

ranean ports with a cargo of fish, but off the coast of 
Spain they were boarded and searched by a French 
corvette, and for some reason Mayo and Hill were 
taken prisoner and landed in Lisbon. There they were 
attached to a French force that was to convoy a rich 
pay train through the enemy country, the most dan- 
gerous point of which was a deep defile in the moun- 
tains some three miles in length. There a murderous 
fire was opened upon them from the overhanging 
cliffs, every officer and all but a handful of men killed, 
and the rest marched off to a Spanish prison. And 
among the prisoners were Mayo and Hill who had 
come through the engagement without a scratch. The 
Frenchmen were inclined to make game of their 
Yankee fellow-captives, and something of a race war 
developed. But Mayo "was, like Miles Standish, 
small of stature but soon red-hot. 5 ' He whipped 
several "Frenchies," and offered to fight the lot, an 
invitation, courteously declined, which left him mas- 
ter of the field. Whether by intrigue or not. Hill was 
condemned as a spy and marched out to be shot when, 
in the approved style of romance, a horseman in the 
nick of time dashed up with a reprieve; and Hill had 
earned his title to "scape-gallows." In a few months 
the two Cape men managed somehow to make their 
way to Flanders, and, after years crammed with ad- 
venture, reached home. "Mr. Mayo," says Rich who 
tells the story, "died in good old age, in the peace of 
Christ, having raised a large family of enterprising 
boys. Like the patriarch, he saw his children's chil- 
dren to the fourth generation." 



THE ENGLISH WARS 149 

Captain Isaiah Crowell, of Yarmouth, had suc- 
cessfully run the blockade at Marseilles after the 
French decrees were in force; and in 1812, knowing 
that a strict embargo of ninety days, preliminary to 
war, was imminent, he loaded hastily at Boston with 
a cargo for Lisbon, cleared for Eastport, where he 
gave the first news of the embargo, and cleared there 
for Lisbon. War having been declared, on his return he 
was captured by an English cruiser, taken into Saint 
John's where his ship was condemned, and he was 
being returned to the United States on the British 
sloop-of-war Alert when it was captured by the Yan- 
kee Essex. But if Crowell lost in this venture, he was 
to gain by his skill and daring in many another; and he 
retired from sea with a comfortable fortune, to live 
out many humdrum years ashore as a bank president 
and legislator. 

When it came to this second war with England, 
although the United States now proved herself a na- 
tion, there was no unanimity of opinion among the peo- 
ple; and as a fact the Americans had been nearly as in- 
dignant with their own government for its embargoes 
as with England and France for their unjust decrees 
and their seizure of American seamen and ships. 
Politics seethed hot in New England as elsewhere, and 
men for or against the war wrangled in high place and 
low. The majority on the Cape were anti-war. Chat- 
ham, remembering old wars and fresh wrongs, ad- 
dressed the President expressing "the abhorrence of 
the people to any alliance with France." Other towns 
were, at best, lukewarm. Yarmouth never ceased to 



150 OLD CAPE COD 

be bitterly anti-war, and many who had fought 
devotedly in the Revolution refused to fight now, or 
only so far as it might be necessary to prevent the 
invasion of their soiL Yet the county was strongly 
Federalist, and a powerful minority were able to push 
through a fine resolution: "It becomes us, in imita- 
tion of the patriots of the Revolution, to unite in the 
common cause of the country, patiently bearing every 
evil, and cheerfully submitting to those privations 
which are necessarily incident to a state of war. We 
consider the war in which we are engaged as just, 
necessary and unavoidable, and we will support the 
same with our lives and fortunes/* 

The fine old breed of American seamen flocked into 
the navy, and success on the ocean did much to offset 
reverses on land. During the first seven months of the 
war, five hundred British merchantmen were taken; 
and the Essex, the Constitution, the Wasp had made 
their kill of English men-of-war. In 1814 Great Brit- 
ain, relieved from the pressure of continental wars, 
was ready to turn her full attention to America, 
Washington was burned, and again a British fleet 
rendezvoused in Provincetown Harbor and harried 
the coast of the Cape. A landing party at Wood's Hole 
was driven off by the militia; Falmouth, after due 
notice to remove non-combatants, was bombarded, 
with considerable loss to buildings and salt-works, 
but none to life. The contention had been that Fal- 
mouth had been annoying British ships with her 
cannon which Captain Weston Jenkins, the Yankee 
commander, had thereupon dared the British to come 



THE ENGLISH WARS 151 

and get. The determined attitude of his militia seems 
to have discouraged any landing and the British with- 
drew without their cannon. Several months later 
Falmouth was to have her revenge. Captain Jenkins, 
with thirty-two volunteers, set sail in the sloop Two 
Friends for Tarpaulin Cove, Wood's Hole, where 
H.M.S. Retaliation lay at anchor. Brought to by a 
shot from the ship, Jenkins concealed all but two or 
three of his men to encourage a boarding party of the 
enemy. This it was easy to overcome; whereupon he 
trained his guns upon the ship, overcame all resist- 
ance, and returned in triumph to Falmouth with 
the Retaliation, its crew of twelve men, its plunder, 
and two Yankee prisoners. 

Meantime Yankee merchantmen were running the 
blockade with even more zest than they had enjoyed 
in evading their own embargo. At Hyannis, the Kutu- 
zoff, with a full cargo of cotton and rice, came bowl- 
ing into port followed close by a British privateer- 
schooner. The cargo safe landed, one hundred militia 
gathered to repel possible invasion and trained a four- 
pounder on the enemy who, after an unsuccessful 
attempt to destroy a beached British prize, prudently 
withdrew. At Hyannis, again the Yankee landed "up- 
wards of a hundred packages of dry goods"; other 
boats, without benefit of revenue officers, landed 
stores of spirits and wine and other products from 
the South. Coasting vessels tried to keep up a des- 
ultory trade with Boston, though Boston was so 
thoroughly blockaded it was easier to make the run 
to New York. Fleets of whaleboats followed the old 



152 OLD CAPE COD 

route that Bradford and De Rasieres had used, by 
way of Sandwich and Manomet, and so, on, hugging 
the shores of southern New England to their destina- 
tion. Two Eastham captains, safely landing a whale- 
boat cargo of rye at Boston, were encouraged by 
success to exchange for a larger boat and cargo for the 
homeward voyage. At the Gurnet, however, they 
were brought to by a "pink-stern" schooner that was 
masquerading as a fisherman, but proved to belong 
to H.M.S. Spencer. One captain was sent to Boston 
for three hundred dollars ransom of their boat; the 
other, Mayo, was retained aboard the prize as pilot, 
and orders given him to cruise about the bay. In a 
stiff gale Mayo counselled taking shelter in the lee of 
Billingsgate Point, forthwith grounded the schooner 
on the Eastham flats, quieted criticism with assurance 
that they would soon be floating over the bar into the 
safety of inner waters, and advised the officers to go 
below that their number might not excite suspicion 
on shore. He had previously secured two pistols for 
himself and provided for the helplessness of the crew 
by giving them a gimlet to tap a barrel of rum. He 
then threw all available firearms overboard, and, 
when the officers presented themselves in alarm as the 
boat canted with the receding tide, held them off with 
his pistols, coolly walked ashore over the sands, and 
roused the militia who took boat and crew as prize. 
The crew, later, was allowed to escape to their frigate 
and the boat was awarded to Captain Mayo, who re- 
leased it to its owners for two hundred dollars. But 
the town was not to come off so easily in the affair ; for 



THE ENGLISH WARS 153 

the British commander, in reprisal for the indignity 
to his men, threatened to destroy boats, buildings, 
and salt-works, if twelve hundred dollars were not 
forthcoming as the price of immunity and as recom- 
pense for the prisoners' baggage. The town fathers 
decided to pay the sum, and made no such bad bar- 
gain as their receipt promised to hold Eastham 
scatheless for the duration of the war. 

Brewster, prudently, chose a like alternative, al- 
though here the price was raised to four thousand 
dollars. An emergency town meeting was held in the 
church to consider the question, scouts sent out to 
neighboring towns to sound opinion as to the likeli- 
hood of help in resisting the demand, the artillery 
commander directed to "engage horses to be in readi- 
ness for the ordnance; and there being a deficiency in 
that branch of the service a committee should ascer- 
tain how many exempts from forty-five to sixty in 
each school district could be brought to enlist therein." 
The scouts returning with the disheartening news 
"that the town of Brewster can make no dependence 
on any of our neighbors for assistance in our alarming 
and distressed situation," it was decided to employ 
arbiters rather than ordnance, and that "the com- 
mittee of safety who went on board his B.M. Spencer, 
go again this night and make the best terms possible 
with Com. Ragget." Ragget held to his demand, and 
the committee, though they "used their best en- 
deavors/' "could not obtain the abatement of a dol- 
lar," the sum to be paid in specie in two weeks* time. 
The tribute money was borrowed, and to reimburse 



154 OLD CAPE COD 

the lenders a tax levied on "salt-works, buildings of 
every description, and vessels owned in this town of 
every description frequenting, or lying on, the shore." 
It is interesting that the sixty-five irreconcilable alien 
residents who had adhered to the jurisdiction of Har- 
wich managed to evade their share of the tax, al- 
though their property was thus secured from the 
British guns. The faithful of Brewster bore the bur- 
den none too willingly one may guess: three years 
later they petitioned the legislature to refund the sum 
paid "Rd. Ragget, Esq. as a contribution," but re- 
ceived no redress. And when, as a crowning wrong, 
they were upbraided by fireside patriots for paying 
tribute to the enemy, they had the valid excuse that 
since Government and neighbors had left them to 
fend for themselves, they were justified in saving the 
town. 

Orleans, of bolder kidney, it would seem, rejected a 
like demand, and repulsed several landing parties. It 
may be said that the village of Orleans lay inland at 
a safer distance from ship's guns. In December the 
British frigate Newcastle ran ashore near Orleans, 
and, floated with some difficulty, sent a four-oared 
barge into Rock Harbor and captured therein a 
schooner and three sloops, two of which, being 
aground, were fired but were saved by the na- 
tives. Prize crews were put aboard the other sloop 
and the schooner, and anchor weighed for Province- 
town. But the schooner, under command of a Yankee 
pilot who emulated the example of Captain Mayo, 
of Eastham, ran her ashore on the Yarmouth flats, 



THE ENGLISH WARS 155 

and the crew were sent prisoners to Salem. Mean- 
time the Orleans militia had driven off the landing 
force; and sixty years later the surviving heroes or 
their widows received a bounty of one hundred and 
sixty acres of public land for their prowess at "the 
battle of Orleans." Boat after boat in the bay was 
taken by the British, and usually released after the 
captors had replenished their stores from the car- 
goes. The Two Friends of Provincetown, taken off 
Gloucester, was sent to Nova Scotia, as, also, was 
the Victory of Yarmouth. But the master of the Vic- 
tory saved his captor, the Leander, from being 
wrecked on some dangerous shoals and received as 
reward an order on the Governor of Halifax for his 
schooner and a safe-conduct home for "himself and 
his crew. 

On the other side of the account, many Cape Cod 
captains made successful ventures in privateering. 
Captain Reuben Rich, of Wellfleet, captured an East 
Indiaman on the first day out, and cleared seventeen 
thousand dollars for his share in the transaction; men 
from Brewster, Truro, Eastham likewise made satis- 
factory cruises under letters of marque. Cape Cod 
fishermen served in these privateers and in the navy, 
and sometimes were captured, and many a man from 
Cape Cod was familiar with the interior of Dartmoor 
Prison. The last survivor of them, at Truro, lived well 
into the opening of a new era, and died in 1878 at the 
ripe age of ninety. Two Harwich men were in the 
fight between the Constitution and Guerriere, and no 
doubt could sing with gusto: 



156 OLD CAPE COD 

"You thought our frigates were but few, 

And Yankees could not fight, 
Until bold Hull the Guerriere took, 
And banished her from sight. 

Chorus: 

"Ye parliaments of England, ye Lords and Commons too, 
Consider well what you're about and what you mean to do; 
You are now at war with Yankee boys, and soon you'll rue the 

day 
You roused the sons of Liberty in North America." 

The "sons of Liberty," although consecrated by no 
such spirit as won the war for independence, had con- 
siderable ground for exultation, 

But British ships dominated Cape Cod Bay, and 
the flagship, anchored off Truro, sometimes used the 
old mill on Mill Hill for a target. On such occasions, 
says Rich, the inhabitants preferred the eastern side 
of the hill. Again British seamen used Provincetown 
as their own, and, individually, established friendly 
relations ashore; officers often landed to buy fresh 
provisions for which they paid hard British gold to 
the considerable profit of the natives; and although 
some timid farmers kept their cattle in the woods, 
there is no record of any looting. Mr. Rich remem- 
bers an old lady who confessed the girls liked to 
watch the British barges come in; another recalls 
that on the way from school one day with a bevy of 
her mates, they encountered a squad of the British, 
and making as if to turn aside, were accosted gallantly 
by the officer. "Don't leave the road, ladies," cried 
he, touching his cap, "we won't harm you." It is 



THE ENGLISH WARS 157 

probable that more than once youth and bright eyes 
managed some amelioration of the rigors of war. 

It was a futile war, growing out of old animosities 
at home and the great Napoleonic conflicts overseas, 
and all were ready for peace when it came about 
through the Treaty of Ghent in December, 1814. Yet 
the war had served Americans well by clearing ob- 
stacles in the way of a further development of trade, 
which again leaped forward with the building of the 
clipper ships that beat the lumbering East Indiamen 
on the oceans of the world, and were ready for the 
swift voyages around the Horn to the gold-fields of 
the Pacific. For America now had a navy: in the 
years between the Revolution and the Embargo War, 
our growing trade, unprotected as it was then, had 
been at the mercy not only of the European belliger- 
ents, but of the Mediterranean corsairs and pirates. 
For many years regular tribute was paid the Barbary 
States to buy exemption from attack; and even so it 
was no unusual thing for offerings to be asked of a 
Sunday in some Cape Cod meeting-house to defray 
the ransom of a sailor captured by the Barbary pi- 
rates. It was not until after the War of 1812 that the 
nuisance was stopped by sending a squadron to the 
Mediterranean under Decatur, when the Dey of 
Algiers was compelled to a treaty forbidding his pro- 
fitable exaction of tribute, and Tunis and Tripoli 
promised to hold our commerce exempt from the de- 
predations of the corsairs. 



CHAPTER VI 
THEOLOGY AND WHALING 
I 

DtraiNG the political upheaval of the eighteenth 
century, interest in theology was by no means quies- 
cent, and in the seventeen-forties the colonies were 
roused by the religious agitation known as the Great 
Awakening. Puritans had fought with equal rancor 
any dissenter from their doctrine, were he Antinomian 
or Anabaptist, Anglican, Papist, Gortonist, or Quaker; 
the Pilgrim Independents had soon lost something of 
their liberalism; but whatever the particular slant of 
opinion, men of the later generations in the vigorous 
young country were bound to think for themselves. 
Jonathan Edwards crystallized the tenets of the old 
faith into a flawless theology; Chauncy led the lib- 
erals from doctrines dealing with eternal damnation 
to something like Universalism ; but George Whitefield, 
brushing aside contentions involving the supremacy 
of the intellect, made that direct appeal to the heart 
for which men hungered. He infused fresh warmth 
into Calvinism and his adherents were known as the 
"New Lights," his opponents the "Old Lights/ 5 
Pulpit, -press, and people were stirred to frenzied in- 
terest. Whitefield, preaching up and down the country 
with a flame of eloquence and a sympathetic under- 
standing of the poor and distressed that drew men to 



THEOLOGY AND WHALING 159 

him by the thousand, was denounced as an "itinerant 
scourge." As early as 1745, ten of the Cape clergy ar- 
raigned the new method of salvation in terms that be- 
tray some anxiety. "It tends to destroy the usefulness 
of ministers among their people, in places where the 
gospel is settled and faithfully preached in its purity," 
they complain. "That it promotes strife and conten- 
tion, a censorious and uncharitable spirit and those 
numerous schisms and separations which have al- 
ready destroyed the peace and unity, and at this time 
threaten the subversion of many churches." 

But it was not until 1794 that the first Methodist 
meeting-house on the Cape, and the second in the 
country, was built at Truro. Provincetown had made 
the first move toward building, perhaps roused there- 
to by the eloquence of one Captain William Hum- 
bert, who, "while lying windbound in Provincetown 
Harbor/* had improved the occasion to exhort the 
towns-people for the good of their souls. But at 
Provincetown there was much opposition to the New 
Lights, and when the faithful, under cover of night, 
had landed timber for the proposed edifice, their 
enemies promptly reduced it to kindling wood, and 
tarred and feathered the minister in eflSgy. Jesse 
Lee, a visiting elder, writes temperately enough of 
the scene: "I felt astonished at the conduct of the 
people, considering that we live in a free country* 
However, I expect this will be for the good of the little 
society. 55 A prophecy to be justified: nothing daunted, 
the New Lights, in 1795, built their church. " Keeping 
guard at night and keeping their weapons by them 



160 OLD CAPE COD 

while at work, in about four months they erected a 
chapel with songs of praise." And in their songs of 
praise it is remembered that John Mayo, the Truro 
man of hairbreadth escapes in the Peninsula War, 
once joined to his advantage. With a companion he 
had gone to Provincetown with a cargo of clam-bait; 
and night-bound there, they were unable to find 
lodging among the villagers. To occupy the evening 
hours before camping out in their boat, they went 
to prayer-meeting where they stimulated the singing 
with their full rich voices to the great pleasure of the 
worshippers. With the result, Rich tells us, that in- 
stead of sleeping in the open, they were "abundantly 
lodged and breakfasted, and in the morning sold the 
balance of their clams to a good market." 

In the meantime Truro, with the cooperation of 
Wellfleet, Provincetown, and Eastham, and a money 
outlay of only eight dollars for nails, had built the 
first church. On a Sunday people from twelve miles 
north or south flocked to meeting, and those more 
favorably situated were happy in being able to at- 
tend three services a day. The Reverend Mr. Snell- 
ing, who fostered the faith there for twenty years, 
avers that "the congregations were large and the 
Word ran and was glorified." And Rich has pre- 
served for us a picture or two of the local exhorters. 
Dodge, who "could make more noise in the pulpit 
with less religion, and spoil more Bibles than any man 
I ever saw"; another, of gentler spirit, "in a tender, 
trembling,, but earnest voice, loved to tell what re- 
ligion had done for him and persuade others to ac- 



THEOLOGY AND WHALING 161 

cept Christ as their Lord and Saviour." And another 
would "force home his rugged reasoning, and vivid 
personal experience, with an energy and eloquence 
that swept like a torrent. Sometimes when wrought 
upon with his theme, his heart on fire, his face aglow, 
his tall form bent, his long arm outstretched, his 
impetuous utterance fairly breaking through his 
pent-up prison-house, the Spirit rested like cloven 
tongues upon the audience." And there was fine old 
Stephen Collins whose "soul basked in the sunshine 
of all the privileges of God's people. He loved the 
songs of Zion, Lenox was his favorite: he was the 
author of Give Lenox a pull. His exhortations were 
full of fire, his pungent logic carried conviction to the 
mind." 

In 1808 Barnstable, as had Provincetown, threat- 
ened a Methodist minister with mob violence. The 
old Pilgrim faith had tolerated Quakers; Baptists 
were established at Harwich in 1756 and at Barns- 
table in 1771; but Methodists were held as the great 
seceders, and it took them fifty years to soften the 
asperity of the prejudice against them. The new cen- 
tury was to end the old homogeneous theocracy 
and with it the paramount influence of the clergy. 
Quaker, Congregationalist, Baptist, and Methodist 
worshipped according to individual temperament, 
and participated in all civil rights; "Come-outers" 
practised ritual despised of aristocrats; camp-meeting 
grounds, where the Methodists improved a summer 
vacation for the soul's profit, were established in the 
groves of Eastham and then at Yarmouth, when 



162 OLD CAPE COD 

"men of power and deep religious experience," says 
Mr. Rich, "made these green arches tremble with 
their eloquence." A local bard sings, with some 
particularity : 

"We saw great gatherings in a grove, 

A grove near Pamet Bay, 
Where thousands heard the preached word, 
And dozens knelt to pray." 

In 1821, "a Pentecostal year," during the Great 
Revival in Wellfleet and Truro, over four hundred 
" professed religion," and two hundred and thirty- 
six joined the Methodist church. 

As early as 1813 began the Unitarian schism in the 
orthodox Congregational churches. A split in the 
First Parish of Sandwich served as a test case in the 
division of "temporalities," when the schismatics, 
being in the majority, were awarded the church estate 
and the Old Lights, with the parson, withdrew to 
form a new parish. No doubt the people entered upon 
these new discussions with something of the gusto 
they had displayed in past controversies. 

And in the meantime the nation was laying the 
solid foundations of its future prosperity; the Cape, 
with its shipping, its fisheries, and the indomitable 
spirit of its people, was to recover early in the struggle 
to right the chaos that war had induced and that 
might have ruined a young state less vigorous in its 
vitality. And on the Cape, at least, there was one in- 
dustry that had been fostered by embargo and block- 
ade. Settlers there, from the first, by one device or 
another had extracted salt from the sea for their 



THEOLOGY AND WHALING 163 

use. Cudworth, friend of the Quakers, was called a 
"salter" and had set up works at Scituate which he 
visited frequently after he removed to Barnstable; 
and whether owned by Cudworth or not, Barnstable 
also had an early "saltern/ 7 As early as 1624 a man 
was sent to Plymouth to manufacture salt by the 
evaporation of sea-water in these artificial salt-ponds, 
a process not favored by Bradford, and though tedious 
and not too successful seems to have been followed 
for more than a century. During the Revolution, 
when no salt could be imported, and the country 
must rely upon the domestic produce, salt became so 
scarce that a bushel sold for eight dollars, and a state 
bounty of three shillings a bushel was offered for salt 
"manufactured within the State and produced from 
sea salt." 

Here was a fine promise of reward for ingenuity, 
and the low dunes of the north shore of the Cape 
offered ground made for the enterprise. Men there 
"tinkered" and "contrived" and improved one upon 
the work of another, until in 1799 Captain John 
Sears, of Dennis, who had been early in the field with a 
device known as "Sears's Folly," patented the per- 
fected machine to obtain pure salt by means of sun 
evaporation which was to bring wealth to many of 
his neighbors. The industry ran well into the next cen- 
tury when importation became the cheaper method, 
and at its height companies from Billingsgate to 
Yarmouth employed some two millions of capital in 
the business. Many an old sea-dog, also, ran "salt- 
works" for hig private profit, and the dunes of the 



164 OLD CAPE COD 

inner bay were dotted with groups of the surprising 
peaked-roof structures on stilts that had the look of 
Polynesian villages. These roofs capped shallow yats 
into which the water was pumped by tiny windmills. 
A simple mechanism borrowed from ship-lore that 
could be worked by the turn of a hand swung a roof 
back to expose the vat to the sun, and into place again 
to protect it from rain and dew. Provincetown made 
the salt for its fish-curing, and it is said that the 
crescent shore of the harbor was lined for miles with 
the whirring windmills. Not many years ago a few of 
the picturesque little buildings and their mills could 
still be seen on the dunes; but before the mid-eighteen 
hundreds, the business, as such, was at an end. 

II 

THE First Comers, after they had established their 
farms, quickly turned to the sea for the profit there 
was in it: for since Cabot's voyages, and before, men 
had known of the riches that lay there, and the 
earliest history of the Atlantic coast is that of its 
rival fisheries. Cabot encouraged English fishermen 
by report of " soles above a yard in length and a 
great abundance of that kind which the savages call 
baccalos or codfish/' France exploited the Newfound- 
land fisheries, and by 1600 fully ten thousand men 
were employed catching, curing, and transporting 
the fish: one old Frenchman boasted that he had 
made forty voyages to the Banks. Holland pushed 
into the trade to such effect that men said Amsterdam 
was built on herring bones and Dutchmen made of 




t 

o 

1 
s 

H 



THEOLOGY AND WHALING 165 

pickled herring. The law of the road, at sea, was a hard 
law, and fishermen f ought ^out their quarrels there 
without benefit of clergy. In 1621, when the Fortune 
made her landfall and Nauset Indians warned Ply- 
mouth of a strange boat rounding the Cape, it was be- 
cause of "the suspicion that it might be a Frenchman 
bent upon mischief. The Old Colony was to bear no 
small part in England's game of edging out compet- 
itors on the sea. Plymouth was quick to estimate the 
value of those rich fishing-grounds in the lee of Cape 
Cod, where Gosnold's chronicler Brereton was "per- 
suaded that in the months of March, April, and May 
there is better fishing and in as great plenty as in New- 
foundland," and, as we have seen, used the revenue 
therefrom for the maintenance of a free school. Until 
well up to the middle of the next century the catch- 
ing of mackerel, bass, cod, and herring, duly regulated, 
was conducted from shore by seines, weirs, pounds, 
and "fykes/* And then men put to sea for voyages to 
the Banks, and prospered. And in 1850, when cod- 
fishing was at its height, more than half the capital 
invested in it by Massachusetts came from the Cape. 
The deep-sea voyaging of the clipper ship era has 
been dead these sixty years, but still fishermen from 
the Cape, though in smaller numbers now, join up 
for a cruise to the Banks. They are more frequently 
swarthy newcomers from Cape Verde and the Azores 
than the English stock of the early nineteenth cen- 
tury when the Reverend Mr. Damon, of Truro, sur- 
veying with delight the arrival of a fleet of four or 
five hundred mackerel schooners, cautiously modified 



166 OLD CAPE COD 

his emotion and exclaimed : " I should think there must 
be seventy-five vessels ! I never saw such a beautiful 
sight!" And it was good Mr. Damon, perplexed in his 
petition for fair winds, whether men should be sailing 
north or south, who thus trimmed ship: "We pray 
thee, Lord, that thou wilt watch over our mariners 
that go down to do business upon the mighty deep, 
keep them in the hollow of thy hand; and we pray 
thee that thou wilt send a side-wind, so that their 
vessels may pass and repass." 

Mr. Rich gives a lively description of the old fish- 
ing days, when "all Yankees fished with hand-lines 
from the vessel." "The model fisherman keeps his 
craft snug and taut. He has tested her temper and 
strength through storm and calm. He will defend her 
sea-going and fast-sailing almost with his life. A 
larger fleet and finer manoeuvring have never been 
seen than in a fleet of fishermen. Sometimes three or 
four hundred sail, from forty to perhaps one hundred 
and forty tons, all sea-going, well equipped and well- 
jnanned, haul aft their sheets in a freshening breeze 
to reach a windward harbor. Codfishing on the Banks 
was considered tough work. The boy who could gradu- 
ate from that school with full honors, could take care 
of himself; fight his own battles. It was kill or cure; 
few, however, were killed; he was sure to come home 
hale and hearty/' But sometimes the fare ran short 
on a long cruise, and the staple bean soup grew thin. 
"What in creation are you doing?" a skipper asked a 
little Dutch sailor who was peeling off his jacket as he 
surveyed the scanty meal. "Tive for the bean, by 



THEOLOGY AND WHALING 167 

Cot/* answered Dutchy. ** Going to the Grand Bank 
meant leaving home in April for a three to five 
months' trip, with no communication till the return. 
It meant besides the usual sea casualties, to be shut 
up in the fog, exposed to icebergs and cut off from 
the world as if alone on the planet. Do not imagine, 
however, that these men felt they were prisoners, or 
even dreamed of being unhappy. It was their business 
and they were more happy and content than the 
average working-man I have met on land. Day by 
day, and week by week, a more cheerful company, 
kind, pleasant and accommodating, it would be hard 
to find. Saturday night was a happy hour. At sunset 
the lines were snugly coiled, the decks washed, and a 
single watch set for twenty-four hours. Sunday was a 
day of rest. The bright, unfaltering star that never 
set or dimmed, that robbed the voyage of half its 
discomforts and terrors, was going home. How pleas- 
ant the anticipation, how glad the welcome, how 
lavish the store ! " 

Mackerel-fishing was a separate art acquired in its 
perfection by the progression of many devices. Here, 
again, we quote from Rich. "Laying-to, or a square 
dead drift, throwing bait freely, coying the fish, was 
found the most successful. By this way, with a mod- 
erate breeze, a school could sometimes be kept around 
a vessel for hours. As many as one hundred and fifty 
wash barrels have been caught by hook and line at a 
single drift. A fleet of hundreds of sail, laying-to and 
beating up to the windward to keep on the school is a 
fine marine picture. * High-line' is the highest degree 



168 OLD CAPE COD 

conferred in this school. It outranks all others. The 
fishermen of Truro were among the first to follow the 
mackerel business and Truro has had a remarkable 
succession of leading or lucky skippers." It is a de- 
light to read Mr. Rich's history, and we must repeat 
two of his stories of "fisherman's luck." 

A certain Captain Ryder was one of a large fleet of 
fishermen that were lying wind-bound in Hampton 
Roads. The young captain, in the face of probability, 
determined to try for a breeze outside. There he took 
"a fairish wind so he could slant along and saw no 
more land nor sky till he struck the shore in Portland 
Harbor. Here he had quick despatch as vessels were 
scarce," and returned to Hampton Roads to find the 
fleet weather-bound as he had left them, waiting 
still for fair conditions to put to sea. Another Truro 
fisherman, who had the name of making fortunate 
voyages, once shipped a seaman with the opposite 
reputation. "I hear, skipper, you've shipped Uncle 
Wiff," protested one of the crew. " I won't go with 
him. He's a f Jonas.' You won't make a dollar." "I've 
told Uncle Wiff he may go, and go he shall, make or 
break, whether you go or not," returned the cap'n. 
The result justified his courage. "We made that year 
the best voyage I ever made," he was pleased to re- 
call, "and Uncle Wiff was one of the best men I 
ever saw." The comment of Mr. Rich is sufficient: 
"Lucky men are most always bold, brave men; and 
fortune favors the brave." 

Whaling was a business distinct: the great sea- 
sport, to ordinary fishing as a lion-hunt to a partridge- 



THEOLOGY AND WHALING . 169 

shoot. Early in the seventeenth century Purchas, in 
his "Pilgrimage" wrote a brave epic of the whale that 
must have roused many a stay-at-home to hunger for 
adventure: "I might here recreate your wearied eyes 
with a hunting spectacle of the greatest chase which 
nature yieldeth; I mean the killing of a whale." Free- 
man says that the method thereof was but "slightly 
altered during upwards of two centuries." Here, 
substantially, is Purchas: "When they espy form on 
the top of the water, they row toward him in a shal- 
lop, in which the harpooneer stands ready with both 
hands to dart his harping iron, to which is fastened a 
line of such length, that the whale may carry it down 
with him; coming up again they again strike him with 
lances made for the purpose about twelve feet long, 
and thus they hold him in such pursuit, till after 
streams of water, and next of blood, cast up into the 
air and water, he at length yieldeth his slain carcass 
to the conquerors." "The proportions of this huge 
leviathan deserves description," chants Purchas. 
"His head is the third part of him, his mouth (0, 
hellish wide!) sixteen feet in the opening, and yet out 
of that belly of hell yielding much to the ornaments of 
our women's backs. This great head hath little eyes 
like apples and a little throat not greater than for a 
man's fist to enter. They are swallow-tailed, the ex- 
tremes being twenty feet distant/ 5 He labors for 
accuracy: "The ordinary length of a whale is sixty 
feet, and not so huge as Olaus hath written, who also 
maketh the moose as big as an elephant." 
In 1620 the leviathan was familiar enough to Cape 



170 OLD CAPE COD 

Cod Bay to forestall any necessity of hunting him in 
the far seas. The schools of mackerel and cod there 
made rich feeding for the whales which not infre- 
quently met their death when greed tolled them to 
shoal waters and they were left high and dry by the 
receding tides. Then Indians or whites made their 
kill, and the rights in these "drift-whales" were a 
fruitful source of trouble. In 1662 the agents of Yar- 
mouth had appeared at court "to debate and have 
determined a difference about whales"; and in 1690 
an order was passed "to prevent contests and suits by 
whale-killers." But contests there were between one 
man and another, and town and province, as evi- 
denced in 1693 by a dispute with a county sheriff 
who had seized two whales for the Crown; and in 1705 
by a letter from William Clapp to "Squier" Dudley, 
of Boston, a better testimony to Clapp's business en- 
terprise than to his scholarship, "i have liveed hear 
at the Cap this 4 year," wrote Clapp, "and I have 
very often every year sien that her Maiesty has been 
very much wronged of har dues by these country peo- 
ple." And he would be willing to remedy the evil "if 
your honor see case to precure a commishon of his 
Exalency for me with in strocktions I shall by the 
help of god be very faithful in my ofes." And that 
Clapp got his appointment is shown by the Gover- 
nor's endorsement on his letter: "Commission for 
William Clapp, Lt. at the Cape. Warrant to prize 
drift whales, a water baylif ." But the towns were 
tenacious of their rights, and usually assured the par- 
son's salary from their profit. Mr. Cotton of Yar- 



THEOLOGY AND WHALING 171 

mouth looked there for his forty pounds a year; Mr. 
Avery of Truro, for his larger stipend; and some of 
the whaling-profits were also used for school mainte- 
nance. 

Waiting for stranded drift-whale ill-suited the 
spirit of the pioneers at Cape Cod, and soon duly com- 
missioned watchers gave notice when a whale spouted 
in the bay, and men put off in small boats to give 
chase. It is said that a "Dutchman" from Long Is- 
land, Lopez by name, taught Barnstable men the art 
of killing, and that Lieutenant John Gorham, who 
made a tidy fortune out of the business and whose 
son was to use his whaleboat fleet to good advan- 
tage in the French wars, "first fixt out with old Lopez 
a* whaling in ye year about 1680." Ten years later 
Nantucket sent to Cape Cod for Ichabod Paddock 
" to instruct them in the best manner of killing whales 
and extracting their oil." At Yarmouth a tract of land 
was set off as "Whaling Grounds," where a lookout 
was kept and the crews lodged ready to put off at the 
instant's alarm. Cotton Mather comments upon a 
great kill there of a whale fifty-five feet long. "A cart 
upon wheels might have gone into the mouth of it. 
So does the good God here give the people to suck the 
sea." And as late as 1843 a monster whale was cap- 
tured near Provincetown by a small "pink-stern" 
schooner. Its estimated value in oil and bone was ten 
thousand dollars, of which, owing to lack of facility 
in the salvage, only a small part was realized. 

The Indians, who were particularly expert in the 
art, were always employed largely both in bay and 



172 OLD CAPE COD 

deep-water whaling; and they, too, were jealous of 
their shore rights. In 1757 the Indians of Eastham 
and Harwich complained to the General Court of the 
encroachment of whites, especially on "a certain neck 
or beach in or near Eastham called Billingsgate 
Point or Island, the place most convenient for the 
whale-fishery in the whole county, and always before 
so improved." And it is noted that "certain inhab- 
itants of Harwich" were prosecuted for such "whale 
fishery at Billingsgate." 

It was in Wellfleet Harbor that the Pilgrims had 
seen Indians at a kill of blackfish, and named it 
"Grampus Bay." These blackfish, only less valuable 
for oil than whales, down to recent times were oc- 
casionally beached in great shoals on the Cape, and 
the stench of the rotting carcases carried for miles. 
Mr. Rich tells of a Truro captain who, as he drove his 
cows to pasture one fine morning, descried on the 
shore as he took a squint seaward seventy-five huge 
fish, which before nightfall he had sold for nineteen 
hundred dollars. And in 1874, over fourteen hundred, 
the largest school ever known, were stranded at 
Truro and cut up to twenty-seven thousand gallons 
of oil. Even boys were adept at the game; and one 
urchin, having prevented several great fish from es- 
caping to deep water, fought one with hatchet and 
knife, made his Mil, and was discovered deftly strip- 
ping it of blubber. It was in 1834, as ill chance would 
have it on a Sabbath, that a vast school of blackfish 
was beached at Truro. Here was temptation for the 
devout that was to divide, in the eyes of all men, the 



THEOLOGY AND WHALING 173 

sheep from the goats. Many fishermen happened to 
be offshore; the news reached the churches at the 
close of morning service. It is said honors were even 
as to Sabbath-breakers from church-goers and sea- 
men. But one young sailor, though he was no "pro- 
fessor/' refused to take part in the chase because, 
forsooth, his father had kept sacred the day. He was 
a conservative by nature, and winter after winter 
studied his sums in a tattered old book. "My father 
and grandfather cyphered out of that arithmetic/' 
was his retort for criticism. "I should think it divilish 
strange if I can't." 

From hunting the whale offshore in small boats, 
Cape seamen, when the prey grew more wary, pur- 
sued it to the farthest reaches of the ocean, and 
brought back prosperity to the home ports. Wellfleet 
was a great whaling town; Truro also, and Province- 
town. Then the bulk of the business went to the 
islands to the southward and to New Bedford. Cap- 
tain Jesse Holbrook of Truro, who killed fifty-four 
sperm whales on one voyage, was employed for twelve 
years by a London company to teach English lads his 
art, and it was two Truro captains, on the advice of 
an English admiral stationed at Boston, who were the 
first to go whaling about the Falkland Islands. Cap- 
tain William Handy, of Sandwich, was another 
famous whaling-captain during and after the Revo- 
lution, sailing from New Bedford and also from Dun- 
kirk by some engagement made with Napoleon. On 
one such voyage he and a single companion, both 
unarmed, had a desperate encounter with a huge 



174 OLD CAPE COD 

polar bear where they had landed on an icy shore; 
the ice bore up them and not the bear, or even their 
courage would have availed them little in the unequal 
conflict. Captain Handy retired to become a ship- 
builder, but was impoverished by "the French 
spoliations," as well as from the War of 1812, and at 
the age of sixty returned to the sea to make good his 
fortune and "to show the boys how to take whales," 
when "he accomplished in fifteen months a most suc- 
cessful cruise to the admiration of all." In 1771 no less 
than seventy-four vessels had been engaged in such 
ventures; and Mr. Osborn, the versatile Eastham par- 
son who taught his people how to use peat, celebrated 
their prowess on the sea in a whaling-song that opened 
with appropriate detail: 

"When Spring returns with western gales, 
And gentle breezes sweep 
The ruffling seas, we spread our sails 
To plow the wat'ry deep; 
For killing northern whale prepar'd, 
Our nimble boats on board 
With craft and rum (our chief regard) 
And good provision stor'd; 
Cape Cod, our dearest, native land, 
We leave astern, and lose 
Its sinking cliffs and lessening sands 
Whilst Zephyr gently blows." 

But it is Edmund Burke, in the British Commons, 
with the magno modo of the time but commendable 
accuracy, who pronounced the panegyric of the New 
England whalers: ** While we follow them among the 
tumbling mountains of ice, penetrating into the 



THEOLOGY AND WHALING 175 

deepest recesses of Hudson Bay; while we are looking 
for them beneath the Arctic circle, we hear that they 
have pierced into the opposite region of Polar cold, 
that they are at the Antipodes, and engaged under 
the frozen Serpent of the South. Falkland Island, 
which seemed too remote and romantic an object for 
the grasp of natural ambition, is but a stage and rest- 
ing-place in the progress of their victorious industry. 
While some of them draw the line and strike the har- 
poon on the coast of Africa, others run the longitude 
and pursue the gigantic game along the shores of 
Brazil." 



CHAPTER VII 

STORMS AND PIRATES 
I 

THE sea that was at every man's threshold, combing 
down the beaches of the outer shore, lapsing from the 
sands ebb-tide and flood again in the bay, formed such 
a part of the day's experience as would be incon- 
ceivable to one of inland habitude* It was a friend to 
be loved, an enemy to be fought, a giver of food, and 
a solemn harvester that brought dead men to the 
door. Memorable storms have ravaged the shore: it 
is amazing that anything so delicate as the charming 
curve of Champlain's Cap Blanc could withstand the 
pull and push of the Atlantic surges; Gosnold's Point 
Gilbert and Tucker's Terror have been torn away and 
moulded elsewhere in other form; and the shoals of 
that cruel outer strand might be piled high with their 
wrecked ships. Nor has tragedy been all oceanwards. 
In 18&7 there was a lowering capricious winter 
when with more than common malice the wind, 
"bringing cold out of the north," would swing to the 
melting south and back again to freeze and destroy. 
It was on such a day that the schooner Almira, loaded 
with wood, put her nose out of Sandwich Harbor. The 
rain had stopped at noon, the air was thick with 
vapor, and high overhead, as if seeking their shepherd 
wind, scudded little anxious clouds. Then, change 
about, by nightfall the iron hand of the north had 



STORMS AND PIRATES 177 

stripped the heavens bare and stars looked coldly 
down upon the scene. The air had filled with needles 
of frost to cut the faces of the miserable crew, and 
drenched as they were with spray they froze as they 
stood. The boat was headed for Plymouth Light; but 
Plymouth lay directly in the eye of the wind, and it 
was tack and tack again with sails slowly shredding 
to rags and every rope unyielding steel. The boat still 
answered her helm, but it was useless to drive her 
longer against wind and tide, and they turned her 
about for home. Into Barnstable Bay she swept, and 
in the moonlight that was more relentless than shroud- 
ing storm the master could see his own comfortable 
white house. The boat travelled as "if intent on 
some spot where it might be wrecked," and there on 
the teeth of a cruel ledge, less than the turn of twenty- 
four hours since she had set sail in the languorous 
south wind, the land once more received her. At the 
helm, his hands frozen to the tiller, his feet set fast in 
ice, pitiful rescuers found the only man who breathed : 
the others of that little company had made the cold 
port of death. 

There have been historic wrecks, historic storms. 
As early as 1669 a quarrel over the salvage of a wreck 
was settled in court. Bradford, in 1635, records such 
a storm "as none living in these parts, either English 
or Indians, ever saw, causing the sea to swell above 
twenty feet right up." "Tall young oaks and walnut 
trees of good bigness were wound as a withe/* And 
"the wrecks of it will remain for a hundred years." It 
was this storm* raging up and down the coast, that 



178 OLD CAPE COD 

threw Anthony Tliaclier and his little family upon 
the rocks of Cape Ann. And some Connecticut colo- 
nists, wrecked in Manomet Bay and wandering for 
days in the snow, finally reached Plymouth and were 
hospitably entertained there for the winter. Brad- 
ford's storm "took the roof of a house at Manomet 
and put it in another place'*; and Rich reports the 
great gale of a later year that washed a house from its 
moorings on the Isles of Shoals and landed it at Truro 
so far intact that a box of linen and some papers were 
preserved to tell its story. He seems to think that if 
the family had had the courage to stand by their 
house, they might have made the voyage to Cape Cod 
in safety. After a savage September gale in 1815 that 
centred in Buzzard's Bay, a coasting schooner was 
found upright in some large trees, and another, lifted 
clean over a bluff, blocked the door of a house. Every- 
thing ashore was laid waste; even springs became 
brackish; but some land was enriched by its flooding 
and where only moss had been grass was to grow. 

In 1703 the body of Captain Peter Adolphe, cast 
upon the shore at Sandwich, was there decently 
buried; and his widow, in grateful acknowledgment, 
presented the town with a bell cast in Munich and 
inscribed, "Si Devs pron bvs [ sic] qvis contra nos 
1675," which was later sold to Barnstable where it is 
preserved as a relic. 

In 1723 "The Great Storm" that "raised the tide 
three or four feet higher than had been known afore- 
time," was reported by Mather to the Royal Society 
of London, In 1770 and 1785 were similar storms. 



STORMS AND PIRATES' 179 

Bradford records that "the moon suffered a great 
eclipse" the second night after his storm; there were 
comets, portents of evil, during the Indian troubles, 
and earthquakes in 1638 one so violent that "peo- 
ple out of doors could scarcely retain a position on 
their feet"; and the dating of subsequent events as 
so long "after the earthquake*' was "as common for 
many years as once with the Children of Israel." In 
1727 a heavier shock still was "reformatory of some 
loose-livers in America who became apparently de- 
vout penitents"; and in 1755 was the worst earth- 
quake that ever was known. 

In November, 1729, one Captain Lothrop, Boston 
to Martha's Vineyard, espied off Monomoy a vessel 
in distress, and boarding her discovered shocking 
evidence of her state. Of the one hundred and ninety 
souls who had set sail from Ireland for the port of 
Philadelphia, no less than one hundred, including all 
the children but one, had died of starvation. Twenty 
weeks they had been afloat, and were out of both 
water and food. "They entreated him to pilot them 
into the first harbor they could get into, and were all 
urgent to put them ashore anywhere, if it were but 
land." Lothrop would have taken them to Boston, 
but, when they threatened to throw him into the sea, 
landed them hastily with some provisions, at Sandy 
Point where there was but one house. A writer in a 
current number of the "New England Weekly Jour- 
nal" remarks that "notwithstanding their extremity, 
't was astounding to behold their impenitence, and 
to hear their profane speeches." Their captain pro- 



180 OLD CAPE COD 

ceeded to Philadelphia where he was arrested for 
cruelty to passengers and crew, sent in irons to Dub- 
lin, and met his just deserts by being hanged and 
quartered. The one young survivor of that wretched 
company, James Delap, found his way to Barnstable, 
and was apprenticed to a blacksmith there. In due 
time he married Mary 'Kelley, of Yarmouth, and in 
winter practised his trade, in summer was a seaman 
on the Boston packet. This Irishman was something 
of a Tory, and in 1775 emigrated to Nova Scotia 
where he died. A son, master of a vessel in the king's 
service, perished on Nantucket where his boat was 
wrecked in a furious blizzard; two of his daughters 
married in Barnstable. 

When the emigration of loyalists was well under 
way, boat after boat, crowded far beyond safety, 
set out from Boston and New York for Nova Scotia, 
where, as one such traveller said, "it's winter nine 
months of the year, and cold weather the rest of the 
time"; and where, even were they fortunate enough to 
escape disease or starvation or wreck on the voyage, 
they were to suffer privations beyond any the early 
Pilgrims endured. In March, 1776, "a sloop loaded 
with English goods, having sailed from Boston for 
Halifax, with sundry Tories and a large number of 
women and children, some of whom were sick with 
smallpox, 3 * was cast ashore at Provincetown. Na- 
thaniel Freeman was one of a committee appointed 
"to repair forthwith to the place and prevent the 
escape of the passengers and crew and secure the 
vessel and cargo," and the selectmen of Truro shared 



STORMS AND PIRATES 181 

in the task. What became of the sick women and 
children we are not told, but we may be reasonably 
certain that the rancor of the Whigs was not vented 
on them. Another of these Tory refugee ships was 
wrecked on Block Island, and it was said that for 
years after the ghosts of those who perished there 
could be seen struggling in the surf and their cries 
heard by men ashore. 

English ships, in these days, were raking the coast 
of the Cape from their stations at Tarpaulin Cove 
and Provincetown, but in November, 1778, a sorry 
landing was made when "The Somerset, British 
man-of-war," sung by Longfellow in his "Land- 
lord's Tale," struck on the murderous Peaked Hill 
Bar off Provincetown and, lightered of guns and am- 
munition, at high tide was flung on the beach. For 
two years, patrolling the coast or "swinging wide at 
her moorings" in the harbor, she had been a familiar 
sight to patriots ashore, and now, without observing 
too closely the letter of the law, they were to take 
what the sea gave them. Rich records some prelimi- 
nary amenities between the captain and a company of 
visitors from Hog Back, one of whom, "a short old 
man with a short-tailed pipe," asked for the captain, 
and Aurey, supposing him in authority, received him 
civilly. "Well, cap'n," drawled Cape Cod, "who did 
you pray to in the storm? If you called on the Lord, 
he would n't have sent you here. And I'm sure King 
George wouldn't." Whereupon the captain: "Old 
man, you've had your pipe fished." An anecdote that 
goes to show not unfriendly relations between adver- 



182 OLD CAPE COD 

saries. In due time the captain and crew, to the 
number of four hundred and eighty, were marched 
to Boston to the exultation of all beholders, and the 
Board of War stripped the ship of her armament. 
But before and after this was accomplished, the 
neighborhood engaged itself with plunder, and there 
seems to have been some confusion in the right to 
loot. "From all I can learn," wrote Joseph Otis, of 
Barnstable, "there is wicked work at the wreck, 
riotous doings." He excused himself from the duty of 
regulating matters there as his father, the old chief 
justice, lay a-dying. "The Truro and Provincetown 
men made a division of the clothing, etc. Truro took 
two-thirds and Provincetown one-third. There is a 
plundering gang that way/' Certainly Barnstable 
was too remote to share in the largess. Mr. Rich had 
seen canes made from the Somerset's fine old English 
oak, and cites a certain silver watch, part of the 
"effects/ 5 that was still keeping good time at Pond 
Village. Drifting sands piled up to conceal the wreck, 
a century later swept back to disclose her to the gaze 
of the curious, and then again buried the bones of her. 
In December of 1778, the Federal brig General 
Arnold, Magee master and twelve Barnstable men 
among the crew, drove ashore on the Plymouth flats 
during a furious nor'easter, the "Magee storm" that 
mariners, for years after, used as a date to reckon 
from. The vessel was shrouded in snow and ice, men 
froze to the rigging, others were smothered in the 
snow^a few were washed overboard; and when, after 
three days, succor came to them, only thirty-three 



STORMS AND PIRATES 183 

men lived of the one hundred and five who had sailed 
from Boston so short a time before. Of the twelve 
Barnstable men only one survived. Bound in ice, he 
lay on deck as one dead: conscious, but powerless to 
move or speak. By one chance in a thousand, the 
rescuers caught his agonized gaze; they bore him 
ashore, nursed him back to life, and when he was able 
to travel sent him home over the snow-blocked roads 
in an ambulance improvised from a hammock slung 
between horses fore and aft. The Plymouth folk, un- 
like the looters of the Somerset who, to be sure, 
looted only an enemy not only buried the dead 
and sheltered the living, but guarded the property 
aboard the General Arnold for its owners. As for 
Barnstable, he lost both his feet from frost-bite, but 
could ride to church on the Sabbath as well as an- 
other. He busied himself about his garden in sum- 
mer, and in winter coopered for his neighbors; with 
considerable skill, also, he cast many small articles in 
pewter and lead. 

In 1798, the "Salem Gazette" reports**" seven 
vessels ashore on Cape Cod, twenty-five bodies picked 
up and buried, probably no lives saved." In 1802, 
there was another memorable wreck on the Peaked 
Hill Bar when three Salem vessels richly laden, one 
for Leghorn, two for Bordeaux, foundered there in a 
blinding storm. And, slow as the posts then were, not 
for nearly three weeks were full details of the loss re- 
ceived at Salem. For many years, every great snow- 
storm following a fine day in March would revive 
the story of "the three Salem ships." During the 



184 OLD CAPE COD 

Embargo War, a Traro man fitted out an old boat 
to trade with Boston, and on one such trip was over- 
taken at nightfall, below Minot's Ledge, by a fu- 
rious northeast snowstorm. It seemed probable that 
there would be one embargo-dodger the less to harry 
the revenue officers. The crew consisted of a solitary 
seaman noted for good judgment, his only oath milk- 
mild. "Well, Mr. White, what would you do now?" 
inquired the skipper. "By gracious, sir/ 5 returned 
White, all unperturbed, "I'd take in the mains'l, 
double reef the fores'l, and give her an offing." La- 
conic direction for the one course that offered hope, 
and the event justified its wisdom. In 1815 a Septem- 
ber gale that equalled Bradford's Great Storm swept 
Buzzard's Bay, piled the tides higher than had ever 
been known, and all but excavated a Cape Cod 
Canal. Trees were uprooted, salt-works destroyed, 
and vessels driven high on land. In 1831, to vary the 
story, unprecedented snows were fatal to deer in the 
Sandwich woods where they fell easy prey to hunters 
on snowshoes who brought in no less than two hun- 
dred, forty of them trapped alive. 

All up and down the Cape, in every village and 
town, as the years passed, the sea took its toll of men. 
In 1828 some thirty of them, mostly from Sandwich 
and Yarmouth, small merchants and artisans who 
had spent the winter "prosecuting their business" in 
South Carolina, were lost on their homeward voyage. 
That was a disastrous year for many a man who fol- 
lowed the sea, and in Truro, especially, the number of 
grave-stones grew. Of all these memorials the most 



STORMS AND PIRATES 185 

tragic Is that "Sacred to the memory of fifty-seven 
citizens of Truro who were lost in seven vessels, which 
foundered at sea in the memorable gale of October 3, 
1841." Fifty-seven men of Truro, ten of Yarmouth, 
twenty of Dennis "mostly youngsters under thirty/' 
never made port in that gale. They were fishing on 
George's Bank when the storm broke, and "made sail 
to run for the highland of Cape Cod," we may read. 
"But there were mighty currents unknown to them 
before which carried them out of the proper course to 
the southwest. Finding they could not weather by the 
highland they wore ship and stood to the southeast 
but being disabled in their sails and rigging the 
strongest canvas was blown into shreds they were 
carried by wind and current upon the Nantucket 
Shoals." A few boats did succeed in rounding Prov- 
incetown; others never made even the Nantucket 
Shoals; one was found bottom up in Nauset Harbor, 
"with the boys drowned in her cabin." A captain, 
whose seamanship and indomitable pluck saved him 
that day, lived to write the record. "I knew we had a 
good sea-boat; I had tried her in a hard scratch, and 
knew our race was life or death." Somehow, where 
other masters failed, he won. By a hair's breadth he 
escaped the shoals. "We hung on sharp as possible by 
the wind, our little craft proving herself not only able 
but seemingly endowed with life. In this way at 3.30 
we weathered the Highlands with no room to spare. 
When off Peaked Hill Bar the jib blew away, and we 
just cleared the breakers; but we had weathered! the 
lee shore was astern, and Race Point under our lee, 



186 OLD CAPE COD 

which we rounded and let go our anchor in the Herring 
Cove/' Rich chronicles the almost incredible feat of 
another boat that turned turtle and around again and 
survived. The Reform lay-to "under bare poles, with 
a drag-net to keep her head to the wind. As it was 
impossible to remain on deck on account of the sea 
making a breach fore and aft, all hands fastened 
themselves in the cabin and awaited their fate, at the 
mercy of the storm. A moment after a terrific sea 
fairly swallowed them many fathoms below the sur- 
face. The vessel was thrown completely bottom up. 
The crew had no doubt it was her final plunge. A few 
seconds only, she was again on her keel. Two or three 
men crawled on deck; they found the masts gone and 
the hawser of the drag wound around the bowsprit. 
She had turned completely over, and came up on the 
opposite side. 55 For weeks after the storm, a vessel 
cruised about seeking disabled boats or some trace of 
their loss ; but save the schooner in Nauset Harbor, not 
a vestige of boats or men was ever found. It is said that 
a Provincetown father, "who had two sons among the 
missing, for weeks would go morning and evening to 
the hill-top which overlooked the ocean, and there 
seating himself, would watch for hours, scanning the 
distant horizon with his glass, hoping every moment 
to discover some speck on which to build a hope." 

In 1853 another Great Storm swept away wharves 
and storehouses on the bay, and wrecked a schooner 
at Sandy Neck, with " all hands lost " to add to the tale 
of disaster on the outer shore. And so walks the proces- 
sion of storms down to the one of yesterday when the 



STORMS AND PIRATES 187 

coast-guard fought hour by hour through the night 
to save the crew of a boat pounding to pieces in the surf 
a scant two hundred and fifty feet from shore. And be- 
fore the days of the coast-guard, men had worn paths 
above the cliffs where they paced on the lookout for 
wrecks. "Thick weather, easterly gales, storms," and 
on such nights men, even as they ate, kept an eye to 
the sea. One Captain Collins, of Truro, called from 
table by the familiar cry, "Ship ashore, all hands 
perishing/' within the hour had laid down his life in a 
fruitless effort at rescue he and a companion whose 
widow had lost all the men related to her by the sea. 
By differing methods the same spiri has worked 
through all the years: "Ship ashore, all hands perish- 
ing/' and it is the business of men who might be safe 
to risk their lives in the fight with death. 

II 

THE sombre tale of wrecks will never be done, but 
pirate stories no longer incite youth to possible ad- 
venture. In the old days Cape Cod men had plenty of 
chances to show their prowess against such adver- 
saries, and likewise against the privateersmen who 
sometimes made use of their letters of marque in 
highly personal ventures. Nor was danger from out- 
and-out piracy unfamiliar to peaceful folk ashore. 
The Earl of Bellamont, Governor of Massachusetts 
and New York, was "particularly instructed to put 
a stop to the growth of piracy, the seas being con- 
stantly endangered by freebooters"; and the achieve- 
ment of his short incumbency was the apprehension 



188 OLD CAPE COD 

of Captain KidcL Kidd, duly commissioned a privateer, 
was one of those who turned to the more lucrative 
trade of pirate. Then, pushed hard, he buried his 
profits, to the incitement of many future treasure 
hunts, and thinking to escape detection through 
sheer boldness, appeared in Boston. But he was 
recognized, laid by the heels, and packed off to Lon- 
don where he was duly hanged. An earlier pirate of 
our coast with better fortune died in his bed, a re- 
spected country gentleman, no doubt, at Isleworth, 
England, in the year 1703. He had been pilot on a 
pirate-chaser appointed by Governor Andros to clean 
up the seas off New England, and in process of pur- 
suing the pirates had opportunity to observe the ease 
of their methods, 

In 1689 this Thomas Pound, in partnership with an- 
other master-mariner and duly commissioned to prey 
upon French merchantmen, set sail from Boston. But 
they had proceeded no farther than the Brewsters when 
they were holding up a mackerel sloop for supplies, 
and fifteen miles out they neatly exchanged their own 
boat for a better one Salem-bound, whose crew, save 
one John Derby who joined the adventurers as a 
" voluntary , M was to turn up at home and give news of 
the lately commissioned privateer, Thomas Pound, 
master. Pound, meantime, with a long advantage in 
the chase, was off for Portland and Casco Bay. Fully 
equipped from the Portland militia stores with cloth- 
ing, powder, musket and cutlass, carbines and brass 
cannon, he made for Provincetown and again changed 
to a better boat whose master was sent back to Bos- 



STORMS AND PIRATES 189 

ton with the saucy message to probable pursuers that: 
"They Knew ye goot Sloop lay ready but If she came 
out after them & came up wh them shd find hott work 
for they wd die every man before they would be 
taken/* Boston, nevertheless, sent out its sloop, with 
orders to take Pound, or any other pirate, but quaintly, 
in so hazardous an enterprise, "to void the shedding 
of blood unless you be necessitated by resistance." 
Perhaps Boston had heard the rumor that Richard, 
brother to Sir William Phips, Governor, was of the 
pirate company. Pound rounded the Cape, picked up 
a prize in the Sound, was blown out to sea, and re- 
turned to the rich hunting about the Cape by way of 
Virginia. Off Martha's Vineyard, again, he drove a 
ketch into the harbor and would have followed and 
cut her out, if the inhabitants had not risen in force. 
In Cape Cod Bay he held up a Pennsylvania sloop 
that was such poor prey he let her go scot free; but 
off Falmouth he got a fine stock of provisions 
which very likely was needed by now from a New 
London boat. Then he lay-to for several days in 
Tarpaulin Cove where, at last, the merry cruise was 
to end. Boston was sending out another boat, under 
command of one Samuel Pease, with instructions to 
get the pirates but, again, "to prevent ye sheding of 
blood as much as may bee," and with better luck this 
time for the avengers of the law. In Tarpaulin Cove 
they surprised the pirate, with the red flag at her 
peat. Shots were exchanged, and called upon to strike 
to the King of England, Pound answered in true 
pirate rodomontade. "Standing on the quarterdeck 



190 OLD CAPE COD 

with his naked sword in his hand flourishing, said, 
come aboard, you Doggs, and I will strike you pres- 
ently, or words to yt purpose." Firing was renewed, 
and "after a little space we saw Pound was shot and 
gone off the deck/ 5 Quarter was offered, and refused. 
"Ai yee dogs we will give you quarter," yelled the 
pirates. Pease was also wounded, but his men boarded 
the pirate sloop, and "forced to knock them downe 
with the but end of our muskets at last we quelled 
them, killing foure, and wounding twelve, two re- 
maining pretty well." This ended the Homeric battle 
of Tarpaulin Cove. Pease, the king's captain, died 
of his wounds, and offerings were made in church for 
his widow and orphans. The pirates were taken to 
Boston jail where they were visited for the good of 
their souls by Judge Sewall and Cotton Mather. In 
due process of law they were condemned to be hanged 
on indictments for piracy and murder. But the sequel 
proved that fashion and the elders, whether or not by 
reason of the claims of consanguinity, were interested 
for the scapegraces. Justice was appeased by the 
hanging of one lame man of humble origin, and Poujid 
was taken to England, where later he was made cap- 
tain in the navy and died, as we have seen, in the 
odor of respectability. Some say that his brief piratical 
career was induced by politics rather than a criminal 
taste. He and his men were royalists, it was said, and, 
siding with Andros in the colonial quarrels, meant to 
draw out of Boston Harbor for their pursuit the royal 
frigate Rose which the colonists were holding there. 
But if that were their game, it was spoiled by the send- 



STORMS AND PIRATES 191 

ing out of the Province sloop under Captain Pease and 
the genuine fight at Wood's Hole. In any case the Sa- 
lem and New London boats they had looted were not 
disposed, probably, to distinguish them from pirates. 
A close perusal of the "Pirate's Own Book," pub- 
lished at Portland in 1859, would no doubt reveal 
further adventures involving Cape Cod; and in 1717, 
at any rate, there was an encounter with pirates off 
the "Back Side " that was brought to a successful con- 
clusion by the wit of a Cape Cod seaman. The Whidah, 
Samuel Bellamy, captain, of some two hundred tons 
burden with an equipment of twenty-three guns and 
one hundred and thirty men, while cruising offshore 
had the good fortune, which turned to ill, to take seven 
prizes. Seven prize crews were put aboard to take 
the vessels to port there, presumably, to sell them at 
a price. The master of one, seeing that his captors were 
drunk, took his boat straight into Provincetown and 
gave the pirate crew into custody. Nor was their chief 
to meet a better fate. One of his prizes was a "snow," 
and seeing a storm coming up, he offered its skipper 
the boat intact if he would pilot the 'Whidah safe 
around to Provincetown Harbor. The bargain struck, 
a lantern, as guide, was hung in the snow's rigging. 
Some say the skipper, trusting to the lighter draft of 
his boat, ran her straight for shore, the heavy pirate 
craft floundering after; another story has it that he 
put out his mast-light and flung a burning tar-barrel 
overboard to float ashore and lure the Whidah to her 
doom. Be that as it may, the sequel was successful. 
The Whidah and two of her attendant ships were 



192 OLD CAPE COD 

dashed on shore near Nauset, and only two men of 
the crews, an Englishman and an Indian, escaped 
drowning. As for the storm, it was sufficiently heavy 
to furrow out the first Cape Cod Canal, the ocean 
making a clean break across the Cape near the Or- 
leans line, and "it required a great turnout of the peo- 
ple and great efforts to close it up." Captain Cyprian 
Southack, sent from Boston to inspect the wreck and 
landing on the bay shore, refers in his report to "the 
place where I came through with a Whale Boat," and 
adds that he buried "one Hundred and Two Men 
Drowned." Having buried the pirates, Southack set a 
watch over their property, and had some complaint 
to make of the inhabitants, who came from twenty 
miles around to share in the spoils. As usual, there 
seems to have been a clash between government and 
individual rights; but Southack advertising retribu- 
tion for any private profiteers, several cartloads of the 
stores were retrieved and sent to Boston* And there is 
a story of the right pirate cast in regard to a man 
"very singular and frightful" in aspect who, every 
season for many years after, used to revisit the neigh- 
borhood of the wreck. Taciturn and uncommunica- 
tive in his waking hours, his dreams were perturbed 
as needs must be, and then such ribald and profane 
words passed his lips as proved him in league with 
evil spirits with whom he communed on past bloody 
deeds. Plainly he was the one English survivor of the 
Whidah returned to the scene to dig for buried treas- 
ure; and to prove the case, when he died a belt filled 
with gold was found on his person. 



STORMS AND PIRATES 193 

In 1772 there was a pirate story less well authen- 
ticated which served chiefly as a bone to worry be- 
tween Tory and Whig. A schooner flying signals of 
distress was boarded off Chatham, and the single sea- 
man found there, appearing "very much frightened," 
said that armed men in four boats had overhauled the 
craft and murdered the master, mate, and a seaman; 
himself he had saved by hiding. He supposed the men, 
he cunningly said, came from a royal cruiser, a story 
ridiculous on the face of it. At any rate, a royal cruiser, 
the Lively, under command of Montague, the admiral 
who had advised the two Truro captains to undertake 
their whaling voyage to the FaBdands, set out in 
pursuit of a possible pirate, with no result; and the up- 
shot was that the whole story was suspected to be an 
invention of the survivor to conceal his own guilt* 
The jury sitting in the case disagreed, and in the 
fevered state of public opinion, it was used in mutual 
recriminations by Whig and Tory: the Whigs con- 
tending that the English navy had committed the 
footless outrage, the Tories, more reasonably, that 
the seaman was a liar and murderer. But controversy 
could not restore the dead, who had all hailed from 
Chatham. 

The Cape, as it reached out for its share in the 
commerce that developed after the Revolution, was 
as intimately concerned in pirate adventures off the 
Spanish Main as it might have been in Cape Cod 
Bay. By 1822 our shipping was so harried by pirates 
in those southern seas that the Government sent out 
armed boats to protect our merchantmen, among them 



194 OLD CAPE COD 

the sloop-of-war Alligator. And a story, in which the 
Alligator is concerned, typical of many another of the 
time, is told by one of the last of the old Cape Cod 
sea-captains who died some twenty years ago. He 
sailed , as cabin boy, for the Spanish Main in the 
brig Iris commanded by a Brewster man and carry- 
ing a crew of eleven and one passenger. As the Iris 
neared the Antilles, two suspicious ships were sighted, 
and suspicion turned to certainty when they hoisted 
the red flag, put out their "sweeps/ 5 and one pirate 
made for the Iris, the other for a Yankee schooner 
Matanzas-bound. The Iris was no clipper, and was 
quickly brought to by a shot over her bow. The pas- 
senger and captain had meantime gone down to the 
cabin to hide their valuables; and the cabin boy also, 
he tells us, "went down and took from my chest a 
little wallet, with some artificial flowers under a crys- 
tal on its front, in which were three dollars in paper 
money and a few coppers. This I hid in the bo'sun's 
locker and went on deck again." The lapse of seventy 
years had not dimmed his memory of the Precious 
wallet. 

The pirate ship, bristling with guns, was now along- 
side, her deck crowded with men dressed in white 
linen and broad straw hats, quite like Southern gen- 
tlemen, and soon a yawl filled with men armed to the 
teeth put off from her side. The Iris, with forced 
courtesy, lowered a gangway for their reception, and 
six of the strangers climbed on deck. Their leader in- 
quired bf the cargo, and was told that the Iris was 
practically in ballast. 



STORMS AND PIRATES 195 

"Have you any provisions to spare? We're a 
privateer out for pirates. Seen any?*' asked the 
officer. 

"No," answered the captain, looking him in the 
eye. "I can let you have some salt beef and pork." 

The play at civility was soon ended, the ship 
searched, and the stranger, reappearing on deck 
dressed out in the captain's best clothes, cried jovially: 
"Well, sirs, we're pirates, and you're our prisoners." 

The Iris under her new command tacked back and 
forth toward the shore, and the prize crew found some 
rum for their refreshment, and thought, by threaten- 
ing the cabin boy, to find treasure concealed in the 
ship. Trembling, he climbed up to the locker, and 
produced his wallet, but so far from being placated by 
this offering one pirate knocked him down and made 
as if to skewer him with a cutlass, while another 
vowed to throw him overboard. Then they ordered 
hirrx off to bed, and he crept into the sailroom. Next 
morning all were called up to man ship, and captor 
and prize beat down the coast to "Point Jaccos" 
where the boats lay-to and the pirates spent the night 
in drinking and the Yankees in keeping out of their 
way. The captain and the cabin boy hid under the 
longboat. In the morning they put into a bay, a true 
pirate rendezvous, with mangroves growing down to 
the water's edge. The cargo was transferred to the 
pirate ship, and their captain, boarding the Iris, or- 
dered his officer to get money from the Yankees or 
kill all hands and burn the brig. But the Yankees un- 
derstood his Spanish, and Captain Mayo, averring 



196 OLD CAPE COD 

still that he had no money aboard, offered if the 
pirates would send him into Matanzas to return with 
any ransom they should name. 

"Very good/ 9 said the pirate. "I give you three 
days. If you are n't back then with six thousand dol- 
lars, I'll kill all the crew and fire the brig." 

Then they gave him back his best clothes and his 
watch, and put him aboard a passing fishing-smack 
with orders to land him at Matanzas. There he was 
not too generously received, and all but despairing of 
help, as he walked on the quay next morning he spied 
an American man-of-war coming in a schooner with 
fourteen guns and well manned in short, the Alliga- 
tor. Captain Mayo aboard, the Alligator put about, 
and on the morning of the third day, with no time to 
spare, sighted the pirate rendezvous and four vessels 
at anchor, the two pirates, the Iris, and the schooner 
that had been Matanzas-bound, her fellow-prisoner. 
The pirates were brave fighters of unarmed men, but 
had no taste for warships. At sight of the Alligator, 
the men on one boat fired a gun to warn their com- 
rades on the prizes, took to their sweeps and made off 
to sea. The Yankees on the Iris had been confined in 
fo'c's'le and cabin, and were awaiting with some per- 
turbation the dawn of the third day that was to bring 
them Captain Mayo and the ransom or death, when 
they were startled by a cannon shot that was succeeded 
by a stillness above decks. Rushing up, they saw their 
captors making off, the first pirate schooner showing 
a clean pair of heels well out at sea, the second round- 
ing the harbor point with three boats in chase. The 



STORMS AND PIRATES 197 

sun rode high in the heavens, the sea was like glass, 
and it seems that Lieutenant Allen, of the Alligator, 
unable to handle his vessel in the calm and eager to 
secure at least one of the pirates, had attacked from 
his small boats, with disastrous results. The pirate 
escaped, he himself was mortally wounded, several of 
his men were wounded, and a retreat was ordered to 
the Alligator, which withdrew, Captain Mayo and 
the ransom still aboard, without further casualties. 
But the second pirate craft remained, a speck to the 
sight, at the head of the bay, and as the cabin boy 
was pouring coffee for the meal that had been laid on 
the quarterdeck, a boat was seen to put off from her and 
pull toward the Iris. The Iris hailed her sister cap- 
tive, the Matanzas schooner, which begged her to 
take off the crew when they would make common 
cause against the pirate. Nothing was more certain 
than that the boat that swiftly drew nearer was intent 
on their destruction. The first mate of the Iris and 
one sailor jumped into a boat and, pulling for the 
schooner, took off her crew, but instead of returning, 
made for the shore. Now, indeed, all seemed lost for the 
hapless men and the boy aboard the Iris. He and the 
sailors fled for the hold, while on deck the second mate 
and the passenger awaited what should come. The 
pirates, once aboard, slashed at the mate and threw 
him overboard, the sailors were haled on deck and 
forced to run for their lives, forward and aft, the 
pirates cutting at them as they ran. Poor Crosby, the 
mate, half drowned and weak from loss of blood, 
clambered aboard again, sank down on the windlass, 



198 OLD CAPE COD 

and gasped out: "Now, then, kill me if you like. 3 * 
Perhaps thinking bvm worth a ransom, the pirates 
ordered him into their small boat alongside. 

Meantime the boy, half dead with terror, had 
stowed himself away in a corner of the hold; nor was 
his terror lessened at the appearance of a pirate, cut- 
lass in hand, slashing right and left in the darkness. 
He was about to cry for mercy when the man gave up 
his search; and an old sailor, who had been pals with 
the boy, now advised him to go boldly on deck as the 
pirates were sure to have him in the end, and in any 
case were likely to burn the brig. No sooner was he 
there than the pirates began a cruel game, making a 
circle about him, cutting at him with their swords, 
some crying to kill him, others to let him go, he was 
only a boy. They called for powder; he told them 
there was none. They called for fire; he told them 
he could get none. They threw a demijohn at him 
and told him to fetch them water. They knew well 
they had finished the rum. As the boy went below, 
he met his old sailor, who, offering to fetch the 
water, turned back, and was seen no more. The boy, 
reappearing, was ordered into the boat where the 
wounded mate, the passenger, and the sailors were 
already seated, the pirate muskets piled up astern, 
and a pirate standing there on guard. The mate, 
seeing his chance, heaved the pirate overboard, and 
pushed off. The pirates on deck pelted the boat with 
anything at hand, but the Yankees had all their fire- 
arms. And Crosby, seizing a musket, cried: "There, 
damn you, throw away ! " The Yankees bent to their 



STORMS AND PIRATES 199 

oars. "Are we all here? " cried Crosby to his men. But 
the old sailor who had gone to get the water was 
missing. They pulled up at a safe distance, hoping in 
vain that he might jump overboard, and then, when 
needs must, made for Matanzas, rowing along shore 
to provide for escape in case of pursuit, a distance 
they supposed of some thirty-five miles. A freshening 
breeze favored them, and by nightfall they made the 
harbor, rowing in with muffled oars as they wished to 
avoid Spanish vessels there and the fort. They were 
soon hailed by a friendly English voice, clambered 
aboard ship, the captain there got out his medicine 
chest and dressed their wounds, the sailors spread 
their mattresses on deck, and the refugees "lay down 
to such peace and rest," said the cabin boy, "as you 
may well appreciate/ 5 As for the ill-fated Alligator, 
having returned to Matanzas with her dead and 
wounded, she was ordered to Charlestown with the 
boats she had captured on her cruise, and the second 
night out grounding on a Florida reef, which has been 
named for her, was lost. The captain of the Iris, in 
the general settlement at the home port, bought for 
each of his crew, as a memento of their adventure, a 
pirate musket and a pirate sword. 

Cape Cod sailors were in like degree, and with vary- 
ing success, using their wits to elude pirates of the 
farther seas, swift Chinese lorchas, and low-hung 
craft in the Malay Straits. A Truro captain, com- 
manding the Southern Cross, was shot by pirates in 
the China Sea in the presence of his wife. A Fahnouth 
whaling captain, by his skill and coolness, saved his 



200 OLD CAPE COD 

men from massacre by natives of the Marshall Is- 
lands. A Dennis captain, in 1820, had been murdered 
by pirates off Madeira. Another Dennis captain, of 
the barque Lubra, lost his life as late as 1865, when, 
one day out of Hong Kong, he was overhauled by so 
large a force of pirates that resistance was hopeless. 
Some of the crew took to the rigging, and two of 
them were shot there; others jumped overboard and 
were picked up by the pirates, who boarded the 
barque and proceeded to ansack her. The captain, 
whom they found in the cabin with his wife and 
child, they shot dead. Then, having stolen all val- 
uables, destroyed the boats and nautical instru- 
ments, and set fire to the ship, they made off, leav- 
ing the crew to their fate. But with true Cape Cod 
pluck, the survivors of the tragedy managed to save 
the ship and somehow navigated her back to Hong 
Kong. 

They were now sailing seas the world over, these 
Cape Cod men: farmers, fishermen, whalers as they 
had been, they were manning merchant ships that 
were carrying the American flag into every port. Yet 
from the first they had furnished some seamen for the 
traders: for as early as 1650, it is said, both at Saint 
Christopher's and Barbadoes, "New England produce 
was in great demand"; and Gorhams and Dimmocks 
of Barnstable had acquired fortunes in the coasting 
and West Indies trade. An interesting little industry, 
in addition to fishing on the Banks, was carried on by 
a few boats that were fitted out to go to the Labrador 
coast to collect, on the rocky islands offshore, feathers 



STORMS AND PIRATES % 201 

and eider-down for the Cape Cod housewives. There, 
in the nesting-season, were held great battues, when 
the birds were killed wholesale with clubs or brooms 
made of spruce branches. Rich tells us that the sack 
that left home filled with straw returned filled with 
down for bed and pillows, "the latter called 'pillow 
bears/ and apostrophized by the old people as 
'pille'bers/ " Mountainous beds of feathers or down 
were then in order, and "boys used to joke about 
rigging a jury-mast and rattle down the shrouds to 
climb into bed." Two Barnstable men, we know, 
coopers and farmers by trade, went on some of these 
"feather voyages/' which, however, were not long 
continued, as the merciless slaughter made the birds 
wary of their old haunts. 

As early as 1717 hundreds of ships in the year 
were clearing from Boston and Salem for Newfound- 
land and "British plantations on the continent," for 
" foreign plantations," and the West Indies and the 
Bay of Campeachy, for European ports and Madeira 
and the Azores. And when all Europe was exhausted 
by the Napoleonic struggle, the United States, neu- 
tral and safe three thousand miles away, snapped up 
the carrying trade of the world; from fish cargoes 
for the hungry combatants the transition was easy to 
more varied commodities. Their own wars, French 
and English, had been good training schools for men 
of enterprise, and immediately the Cape Cod sailors 
were to prove their mettle in this new era of adven- 
ture. They bought shares in the ships they sailed, and 
profited, and bought more. Some of them, shrewd 



OLD CAPE COD 

traders by instinct, gave up the sea for an office 
ashore, and as East India merchants laid the secure 
foundation of more than one snug urban fortune that 
survives to-day. 



CHAPTER VIH 

OLD SEA WAYS 



SIXTY years ago the thread snapped in that fine sea- 
piece of the American foreign trade, and now the call- 
ing and time of those deep-water sailors are dead as 
Nineveh. But Old Cape Cod was one with the illimit- 
able seas and the spot most loved by men for whom 
the ocean was a workroom where fortunes m'ght be 
made to spend at home. No picture of these men 
could be complete without the background of their life 
afloat. For five decades Yankee ships were weaving at 
the great loom of the Western Ocean to set the splen- 
did colors of European adventure into new patterns 
of romance. Their tea-frigates raced . around the 
"Cape" to the Far East; they took the short cut 
about Scotland to bargain with Kronstadt and Ham- 
burg and Elsinore; barques and brigantines and full- 
riggers caught the "brave west winds" at the right 
slant and made record voyages past old Leeuwin, the 
Cape of Storms, standing out there to give them a 
last toss as they "ran down by " to Port Philip and 
"Melbun" and ^Sydney; clipper ships, the fastest 
under sail that have ever been known, winged their 
way around to "Frisco" in the great days of '49. 
Cargoes sold there at a fabulous price, and then, 
short-handed, perhaps, because of desertion to the 



204 OLD CAPE COD 

gold-fields, the great ships rushed by San Diego and 
Callao, rich ports enough for other times, and, storm 
or shine, swung 'round the Horn, 

"... the fine keen bows of the stately clippers steering 
Towards the lone northern star and the fair ports of home," 

to load again, and return by the path they had come. 
Yankee captains who crowded on sail every hour 
in the twenty-four had soon out-raced stolid John 
Company's ships in the Far East; but back in the 
seventeen-hundreds, before Maury had written on 
navigation, they thanked England for their sailing 
texts, and notably the "English Pilot/' printed by 
Messrs Mount & Page on Tower Hill, to show "the 
Courses and Distances from one Place to another, 
the Ebbing and Flowing of the Sea, the Setting of 
Tides and Currents." "We shall say no more,'* cry 
Mount & Page, "but let it commend itself, and all 
knowing Mariners are desired to lend their Assist- 
ance and Information towards the perfecting of this 
useful work/' Every inch of water is charted, the 
land invites with names of eld; the black letterpress, 
with the long lisping $, tells of the great Western 
Ocean, water and rim, from Barbary to Hispaniola, 
from Frobisher's Meta Incognita to the "Icey Sea" 
of the Far South. There are burning mountains and 
cliffs, castles and towns, treacherous rocks and tides; 
and west of a certain "white mount" on Darien three 
peaks are sharply etched, and the legend, "Here 
hath been Gold found." Due regard is had to eastern 
and western variation, and the line of no variation at 



OLD SEA WAYS 205 

all that springs from the coast of Florida; and it 
should be noted that Sir Thomas Smith's Sound is 
"most admirable in this respect, because there is in it 
the greatest variation of the compass, that is in any 
part of the world, as was discovered ... by divers 
good observations made by that judicious artist 
Captain Baffin." One Captain Davis, no less judi- 
cious, had observed the same phenomenon on his 
third voyage to the North in the year 1587. And 
those who sailed the Western Ocean had learned 
painfully other facts than variations of the compass: 
the sharp path about the doldrums, the way of Gulf 
Stream and trades, and of the great west winds that 
sent them bowling along through the Roaring Forties. 
From the beginning of things men of the Old 
World, with the salt of adventure in their blood, had 
passed "the forelands of the tideless sea" to look 
upon the green distances beyond; those more greatly 
daring had swept through the gate and brought back 
stories of the Hesperides. Phoenicians seeking trade, 
ocean thieves their prey, poet adventurers they knew 
not what, had sighted on the Barbary Coast the 
"Pilot's" "little Hommock which appeareth like a 
Castle," and sailed perhaps down by Arzille and 
Lavrache, Fedale and Azamoor, names of sorcery 
with the soft purr of Eastern tongues. Another and 
another slipped by Spartel, "shooting far into the 
Sea, the very Point guarded with a Rock," the 
"Pilot" tells us, and circled northward through 
stormy cross-currents to Britain, or southward by the 
treacherous coasts where "the grown Sea cometh 



06 OLD CAPE COD 

rowling in so hard." Then sailors, north and south, 
put the land behind them, and turned their prows 
due west: here lay the great adventure for men who 
loved to play at chance, and they won, beyond 
dreams, a new world. Norsemen, Portuguese, Basque, 
and Briton found, not Cathaia, but the fishing-banks 
of Newfoundland, or boundless forests where men 
might be free, or those magic islands of the South 
where Spain was the first to gather her fleet of plate- 
ships for the homeward run to Cadiz, where secret 
landlocked harbors sheltered evil, and simple natives, 
bearing gifts, were kidnapped for their pains. Other 
mariners, whose thirst for gold was not to be slaked 
with a New World, made for the Far East by the 
Cape of "Buena Esperanza." Slipping down the 
coast of Africa beyond Blanco, they skirted a sullen 
coast where the shore is broken by distorted trees and 
rocks and the mouths of great rivers that cast their 
freight from the sinister entrails of the land far out 
into a protesting ocean. 

These men, and others, nameless and forgotten 
mariners, with a keen eye for coast configuration and 
accurate soundings, made calculations and drawings 
and passed them on to their mates, until Messrs. 
Mount & Page winnowed out something of the truth 
of it all and constructed their "English Pilot. And 
now should you devise a voyage about the seas of old 
romance, here is the chart for your venture. Swash- 
buckler pirates sailed this way, and discreet men who 
would elude them; slavers skulked down malign 
African coasts; clean, hardy voyagers, who sought 



OLD SEA WATS 207 

only glory and the Northwest Passage, battered 
frail ships against the everlasting barriers of ice; ad- 
venturers in quest of gold worked their way down the 
Spanish Main; and, turn about, our fine young sea- 
men of the New World wrung their vantage from the 
Old. 

A certain navigator from the Cape, we know, used 
his "Pilot 55 on sober trading voyages to the West 
Coast of Africa, or London, or the Spanish Main, 
and sailing days over pushed his great sea-chest back 
under the eaves of the trim house he had built after a 
rich voyage to Russia. He had sailed for pure love of 
churning blue water, and the sweep of wind through 
the rigging, and great dean distances, and a fine 
manly sense of mastering the tools of fate: wind and 
water and cloud, and^men, and the job of making a 
good trade. Yet never had he been at sea that he 
was not homesick for the land, and his adventurous 
youth was no more than the price he paid for plenty 
ashore. He had met chance as it came and turned it to 
gold; and here in the "Pilot," forgotten for a genera- 
tion in the cavernous depths of his worm-eaten coffer, 
were notes for the story he had been too simple to 
read as romance. Its worn leather covers open out 
comfortably, and within, a cabin boy, perhaps, idling 
about while the master was on deck, had scrawled 
"Sloop Maremad of Boston, 5 ' and for another try 
"The Sloop Mairmad," and knew his hornbook no 
better than a merman. Some leaves are burned 
through by a coal that smouldered there how many 
years ago, on this good sloop Mermaid, at a guess, in 



208 OLD CAPE COD 

the year 1789, and silver-moths now plunge among 
the pages like cachalots in southern seas. 

When the captain had set out for Africa, with a 
cargo of cloth, iron kettles, and such-like trifles to 
barter for ivory and gold, the "Pilot," by word and 
chart, painted the chances before him. Over there 
among the Cape Verdes lay Saint Jago, "rich in prod- 
ucts, so that were it not for the continual Rains in 
the Times of the Travadoes, which render it unpleas- 
ant to the Inhabitants, it would without doubt be 
as delightsome an Island as any in the world"; and 
Garrichica, in the Canaries, is no winter port, for 
then "the grown Sea out of the North West comes 
running in there sometimes so forcible and strong, 
that it is not possible to hold a Ship, although she 
had ten Anchors out/ 3 South and east now the sullen 
mainland lowers, and there " lying under the Tropick 
of Cancer," is a country "high and stony, so that 
there is nothing to be had hereabouts, . . . and with 
the, Sun's heat, continuing sometimes thirty and 
forty Days together ... it is so intolerable hot in the 
Valleys, that it blinds and deafens those that travel 
this Way." But knowing skippers that "sail near this 
Coast, pass along, none go a-shore, for 'tis not worth 
their while/' At a shoal called "the Goulden Bark, 
much Pish is taken at sometimes of the Year/' and 
there's trading at last on "the great River Senega": 
"several Commodities, as Amber, Elephants Teeth, 
with Abundance of Wax and Skins." But on Serbera 
is the Traders' Paradise, whose delights the "Pilot" 
accentuates by a printer's slip: "When you come 



OLD SEA WAYS 209 

into the heaven, you may anchor where you will, "but 
commonly they run towards Madra Bombo, as being 
the chief Place for Traffic; though there is Merchan- 
dizing on the Right Side of the River, where you may 
run with Sloops and Boats. The Place affords all 
Varieties of Refreshment, as Hens, Rice, Lemons, 
Apples, with several merchantable Commidities." 

Happy Madra Bombo! thrice happy Trader! And 
let him refresh himself well before proceeding to the 
unfriendly Coast of Malegate where the "Rains be- 
gins with May, and continues till October; during 
which time, they have great and terrible Thunder 
and Lightning," and "mountainous Billows rowl to 
the Shore, so that 'tis in effect impossible to approach 
the same in Boats, without danger of splitting. But 
these Seasons once over, from October to May, the 
Weather proves pleasant and dry; 'till indammaged 
by the fiery Heat of the scalding Air/* 

The lean coast is marked by trees and blasted 
rocks: "a high tree called Arbor de Castacuis"; "a few 
Trees, appearing like Horsemen"; a white rock, with 
a look, "afar off, like a Ship under Sail"; and at 
Setra Crue, "high aM bare Trees which raise them- 
selves in the Air like masts of Ships laid up"; and 
"on a Cliff a crooked Tree appearing like an Um- 
brella." Slight landmarks for a man, less imaginative, 
perhaps, than the "Pilot," who shall sweep the coast 
with his spyglass and debate with himself whether a 
grove looks rather like a mizzen-sail than like a horse; 
and madness for the skipper to whom a tree is but a 
tree, no more, no less. But here is trading again with 



210 OLD CAPE COD 

the Ivory or Tooth Coast and the "Gold Coast of 
Guiney," and solid English forts where "incoming off 
Seaward . . . you must brace your Sails to the Mast, 
and let it drive; firing off a Shot as a Token of yield- 
ing before the Castle/' 

Now through the great Bights of Benin and Biafra, 
and all along to Cape Lopez Gonzalez, must a captain 
keep a sharp weather eye to "mind which way the 
Travadoes drive the Water, for the Sea Flowes from 
whence they arise," and be ready to run before the 
tornado, "which when you see it it is best to hand all 
your Sail except your Foresail which you may keep in 
your Brails to command your Ship." But, above all, 
must you "weigh with all Speed and get off." And 
these are the sinister coasts where men were sold and 
bought; brave John Hawkins shamed England by 
trading here; Spain and America loaded the scales 
that must be balanced with blood. "About thirteen 
Leagues up River Benin, on the East-side thereof, 
stands the great Town of Gaton or Benin, . . . doubly 
pallisado'd with huge thick Trees, and on the other 
Side 5 t is strongly fortified with a great Ditch and a 
Hedge of Brambles. Here the King of Benin keeps 
his Court, having there a stately Palace." But the 
high words cloak a reality sordid enough when the 
great King of Benin sat in his house of logs and sold 
meat for the slavers. And peril lurks here at every 
turn, "for the Ground is so very foul, and the In- 
habitants such Brutes, that there is no coming near 
it." Peril, again, in possible confusion of the rivers 
Forcades and Lamas: for many pilots, thinking they 



OLD SEA WAYS 11 

are near Forcades, where there Is "Fairing in twelve 
Fathoms good Anchor-ground/' make for Lamas, 
"running into it till they become shoal, then per- 
ceiving their error, but too late, the Ship is lost, and 
the Men endeavouring to save themselves from being 
swallowed up by the Sea and Mud, are devoured and 
eaten up by the greedy Negroes." Such, for a slaver, 
should be the proper adventure of the river Lamas* 
May the dinner of his "greedy Negroes" sit light! 

Slaves, slaves, and more slaves are all the "refresh- 
ment" here, and an honest Yankee trader, who has 
exchanged his "silesia linnen and basons" for ivory 
and gold dust, best be off for home by way of the 
Amboises, Fernando Po, and Prince's Island, high, 
wooded, beautiful, and "affording good Refreshment 
in Abundance"; or, down by Lopez, the "Island An- 
nebon," where "those that return Home from the 
Cape are supplied with Abundance of choice Oranges 
and Pomegranates, as also good fresh Water/* 

n 

THE "Pilot" of Messrs. Mount & Page was contrived 
from the reports of some who "put more westing into 
their navigation" to sail for plunder rather than 
trade; and in Volume TV, on the "West India Navi- 
gation from Hudson's Bay to the River Amazones," 
they step down easily from Terre de Labrador, where 
lay, they thought, the chance of that short-cut to 
Cathaia, to the treasure-house of the Spanish Main. 
The Yankee captain, laying a northern course to 
Europe would need only to reverse the sequence of 



212 OLD CAPE COD 

procedure in the "Pilot's" voyage thence. "When a 
voyage is intended from the river Thames to those 
Northern Parts of America, you may go out of the 
North Channel by Scotland or else through the West 
Channel by the Lands End of England, according as 
the winds may favour you." Martin Frobisher, of will 
as stubborn as the impenetrable North, had set sail 
by the West Channel to prove his "plaine platte" 
that Frobisher's Straits should make a broad high- 
way to the East by the other way round of the world. 
He sailed by Greenland, where "you will have the sea 
of divers colours, in some places green, in some black, 
and in others blue"; and there is Cape Desolation, 
"the most deformed land that is supposed to be in the 
whole world," where the water is "black and thick, 
like a standing pool." It was Warwick Sound "where 
Sir Martin Frobisher intended to lade his supposed 
gold ore," says the "Pilot," and within his "Streits" 
lies "a whirlpool where ships are whirled about jn a 
moment; the waters making a great noise and We 
heard a great way off." 

So much for their Meta Incognita, where the old 
mariners dug worthless ore, and fished, and killed 
whale, and made poor trading with the wretched 
natives; and never breaking through to Cathaia, they 
were swept up and down, among "strange rocks and 
overfalls and shoals." Caught by winter, they biv- 
ouacked somehow in the snows, and in June nosed 
their way out to free water, or, undiscouraged, beat 
ahead for their Northwest Passage. The "Island of 
God's Mercy" and "Hold with Hope" tell of some 



OLD SEA WAYS 213 

cockle-shell sailor's escape from "many points and 
headlongs" and "broken ground and shoals, worse 
than can be expected." Captain Bayley, Captain 
Zacchary Gillam, in his "Nonsuch Ketch," Henry 
Southwood, and William Taverner cruised here, and 
their findings are printed in the "Pilot." And as to 
Newfoundland and the fishing-banks, if we go astray, 
it is by our own obstinacy: for the reporter here is a 
peppery old party who "informs those that are bound 
for that coast that they may not be deceived, as I 
myself had been like to have been in going to Saint 
John's on the 29th day of June, 1715, at 8 o'clock in 
the morning, . . . having been just a month that very 
day from Plymouth Sound," by reason of "a very 
great error in those charts which have hitherto been 
published/' And he sets us right as to computing 
"the true Distance between the Lizard and Cape 
Spea^," where other navigators "would still continue 
the old erroneous Way; because, they say, when I 
argu'd with them, it is the custom; they might as well 
have persuaded me, that old custom could oversway 
Reason." 

Yankee cruisers to the southward found profitable 
advice, again: for "such as are bound for Virginia or 
Maryland will find many times on the coast of America 
various winds and weathers, and streams and currents 
also, therefore they must take the more care, and not 
trust with much confidence to dead reckoning." (Mr. 
Rich tells us of one Truro skipper who "could keep 
a better dead reckoning with fewer figures than any 
sailor ever known. A few chalk marks on the cabin 



214 OLD CAPE COD 

door or at the head of his berth, and he knew his 
position on the Western ocean, whatever wind or 
weather, as well as if in his father's cornfield.") "For 
by experience," the "Pilot" goes on to say, "has been 
found sometimes in twenty-four hours such currents 
as hath carried them either to the Northward or 
Southward, contrary to the reckoning beyond credit/' 
But we are off for the Caribbees, and as we leave 
"those northern parts of America," Saint Vincent and 
Domenica, Marygalante, "Guardaloupa/ 5 and all the 
jewelled drops of the Antilles, from Bermuda to the 
Isle of Pearls, slip by on the blue ribbon of the sum- 
mer seas; and the wind, whether or no, veers back to 
the "spacious time of great Elizabeth," when Hak- 
luyt is the master. Yet may we as well sail by the 
"Pilot," who also knows "Franky Drake," and tells 
us that the "Islands of the Virgia Gorda were ever 
accounted dangerous, but we find by the worthy Sir 
Francis Drake, in his relation of them, that they were 
not so, who sailed through and among them. There is 
good shelter, if you are acquainted with going in 
among them, for many hundred sails of ships." And 
here, with Drake, sailed Martin Frobisher to recoup 
his fortunes blasted by the north, and returned to 
England with sixty thousand pounds in gold and two 
brass cannon as profit. 

All is war and pillage, surprise and counter-ma- 
noeuvre. On Hispaniola, over against the two islands 
Granive and Foul Beard in the Bay of Jaguana, "the 
Spaniards have made three or four ways through the 
Krenckle woods against time of war, that they may 



OLD SEA WAYS 215 

convey their merchandise thro 3 the same woods with- 
out being discovered." "In a little bay near Cape 
Tiburon the English used to lie, waiting for the Saint 
Domingo fleet, and the reason why they laid there 
was, because there was refreshment to be had from 
the shore." And at Veragua, where is "good fresh 
water, and almost anything you want," we hear of 
Drake again : " It is said that on this island Sir Francis 
Drake fell ill and died, and was there buried," But 
here the "Pilot" trips, for Drake, sick with rage and 
disappointment, died when the fleet lay off Porto 
Bello, and was buried from his ship. There are treach- 
erous keys among the islands where many a great ship 
has laid her bones; the Coffin Key, dreaded of sailors, 
where after sundown walk the ghosts of murdered 
men; and quiet little bays for "cruizing ships to 
anchor, when they want to heel or boot top, or to re- 
fit any of their rigging." Saona is "a fruitful island 
abounding in cassava ... so that it hath oftentimes 
been to the Spaniards as a granary whereby they have 
been sustained." And practical directions for the 
navigator run with the allusion to old report: at 
Uluthera you may look out for two white cliffs "called 
the Alabasters"; "along shore you will see a hill 
resembling a Dutchman's thumb cap"; and one 
Captain Street tells of the "Colloradoes" pricking 
out "where we saw to the eastward of us three hom- 
mocks on Cuba," with "flocks of pelican sitting on the 
red white sand." "Take this one more observation of 
the Colloradoes," says Captain Street, "when you 
think you are near them, keep then your lead going, 



216 OLD CAPE COD 

for there is good gradual shoaling on them, at first 
coining on them, excellent sticking oazy ground and 
then sand." 

Down the slope of Campeachy Bay the whole coast 
is fever-stricken and bare of all comfort; nor is there 
brook or fresh water, unless you dig deep in the sand, 
save one spring about two hundred yards from the 
shore, where "you may see a small dirty path that 
leads to it through the mangroves." Forests rise from 
the marshes, rivers skulk behind great sandbars; the 
place smells of pirates, and their light-draft brigs 
thread the innumerable salt lagoons, that Laguna of 
the Tides, perhaps, where "small vessels, as barks, 
periagoes, or canoes may sail," 

Turning, we are for "the Amazones," and then 
back again, up the great coast of the mainland. 
Here is the "Oronoque" and many a lesser stream: 
the Wannary, "shallow, craggy and foul, the land 
soft and quaggy," and "therefore thereabouts not 
inhabited but with that vermin Crocodile, of which 
there are in this place abundance " ; and the Caperwaka 
with an island in it where there is rich quarry for 
fo'c's'le hunters "such multitudes of parrots and 
other fine feathered fowls, that you cannot hear each 
other speak for their noise; there are many apes on 
this island, and other creatures, which I omit here to 
mention." At the Roca Islands "are no beasts but 
some few fowls, which they call Flamingoes, having 
long legs almost like storks, with orange-coloured 
feathers, and great crooked bills/' 

All along to Caracas a captain must be on the 



OLD SEA WAYS 217 

alert because of "the boisterous winds that blow 
there," the " Turnadoes," that "cause a great over- 
flowing of water/' And "the land is very high, some 
say as high as Teneriffe. You have there an extra- 
ordinary hollow sea, therefore those that would an- 
chor on this coast do best to run a little westward . . . 
where you may lie quiet and secure/' Down through 
the "Gulph of Venezula" "the country is full of 
brooks and rivulets; the people, ugly, thin, and ill- 
favoured, going naked, are frightful to behold." But 
"there is much gold brought from thence, and some 
costly stones of several virtues," and "in the country 
are many tygers and bears." Rio de la Hacha, as we 
know, was "formerly a rich place by reason of the 
pearl fishing and other trading. On the east side of the 
river lies a bank which must be shunned," as was 
successfully accomplished by Captain John Hawkins 
when he outwitted the Don and watered his ship at 
the enemy's wells perhaps that Jesus of Lubec he 
was to lose by Spanish treachery at San Juan d'TJHoa. 
And the river Trato, with its mouth blocked by 
"march land and Sea Cows," runs "South a long way 
into the bowels of the country near the golden mines 
of Canea." Gold and more gold, and here, in the old 
days, was blpody work done by Spain which, in turn, 
was pillaged by England and France. One Captain 
Long made a smug show of setting up "English col- 
ours by consent of the Indian natives," but on a cer- 
tain reef "Captain Long had like to have lost His 
Majesty's Ship the Rupert prize." And between the 
keys called the Sambello and main "used to be the 



218 OLD CAPE COD 

rendezvous of the French buccaneers," as off Andero 
and Catalina "the French used to lie with their pri- 
vateers and plague the Spaniards to leeward, espe- 
cially those at Porto Bello and Nombre de Dios/* At 
Lake Nicaragua "is a thing may be called a won- 
der; some of the trees can scarcely be fathomed by 
fifteen men; that is the body of the tree; which thing 
is confirmed by many/ 5 And it was such a tree that 
Drake climbed when first he looked upon the slow 
surge of the Pacific and swore the oath that was to 
disturb Spam's comfortable looting of the South 
Seas. 

Mexico is coasted about in short order. An island 
off Vera Cruz comes in chiefly for "extraordinary 
remarks 5 '; for "in this place the Spanish fleet used to 
lie, and bring their loading from all parts, until the 
month of March, from whence they sail to the Ha- 
vannah, where they always make their fleet to depart 
for Spain/* And "now we come to the wild coast of 
Florida, of which take brief account, 55 says the "Pi- 
lot, 5 * because, forsooth, there was then little trade or 
plunder to be had. Even the mighty Mississippi ap- 
pears only as the Bay of Spirito Sancto, with, inland, 
a shadowy "mishisipi/ 5 Steering out by Florida, we 
discover the Gulf Stream, "an extraordinary strong 
current, without rippling or whirling, or any other 
distinction than in the main ocean, always setting to 
the northward, occasioned by the northeast winds, 
which there always blow, not altering till you come as 
far as the Canaries or Salt Islands or thereabouts." 

But we turn back toward the "Northern Parts of 



OLD SEA WAYS 219 

America," and the good ports of Baltimore or Boston 
or New York, and leave John Hawkins and Francis 
Drake and their mates who, after all, were only seek- 
ing gold at as good a bargain in blood or adventure as 
fortune sent, and were traders no less than the man 
who owned our "Pilot" and pored over its charts and 
quaint letterpress while the shores of Africa thun- 
dered in the offing or, down by the Spanish Main, his 
lookout watched sharp for the lurch of a pirate brig. 
Nor was he less adventurer than they, though he 
travelled the Western Ocean by roads that were as 
tmdeviating, for a good seaman, as those built by 
Rome, and knew the way of the currents there and 
the steady sweep of the trades. More than once he had 
anchored at Prince's Island for a cargo of sugar and 
oil, more than once he had weighed and run before 
the "Turnado " and crept back to his anchorage when 
the commotion was past. He had traded at Matanzas 
and Surinam; he knew the trick of the Spaniard at 
"the Havannah" and Cadiz; and down at Rio he 
rode fast horses on the beach and steved his hold full 
of precious woods. He was no scholar, yet could cal- 
culate his position at sea by the latest mode of the 
navigator; he was no linguist, yet could bend French- 
man, or Russian, or the wily Chinese hong to his will. 
Like the Elizabethans, he loved gold: for that meant 
home and honor and dry land under foot. And he 
plunged into seafaring with all the strength in him 
only to win through to that career ashore when he 
should own the ships that other men sailed. He showed 
an unaffected, outspoken piety that would be im- 



220 OLD CAPE COD 

possible to the young blood of to-day, and lie and his 
calling are no more. Yet the type persists, the type of 
all true adventurers old and new: the men who steer 
for free waters, but first of all are masters of the 
ship. 



CHAPTER IX 

THE CAPTAINS 

I 

STORIES of the Cape Cod captains would in them- 
selves make a volume. One is tempted here and 
tempted there in choosing which should be typical 
of the "brave old times/" and fears to overlook the 
most significant. Among the more interesting of those 
who have not been already mentioned was Elijah 
Cobb, born in 1768 at Brewster the home of deep- 
water sailors. From the memoir which he began to 
write in old age, we know that his first voyage, pre- 
sumably as cabin boy, netted him the profit of a new 
suit of clothes and in money twenty dollars which he 
brought home intact to his mother, "the largest sum 
she had received since she became a widow." By the 
time he was twenty-five he had made several voyages 
as captain, had married him a wife, and a year or two 
later was to run afoul of the French Revolution. As 
both French and English men-of-war were making 
no bones of holding up neutrals, he had cleared for 
Corunna: to no end, for he was taken by a French 
frigate and run into the harbor of Brest. "My vessel 
was there," he writes, "but her cargo was taken out 
and was daily made into soup, bread, etc., for the half- 
starved populace, and without papers " his cap- 
tors had sent his papers to the Government at Paris 



222 OLD CAPE COD 

"I could not substantiate my claim to the ship. 55 
He appealed to Paris, and had the cold comfort of 
hearing that "the Government will do what is right in 
time." In the meantime he was treated courteously, 
and he and 1 some of his men lodged at a hotel at the 
Government's expense. After six weeks the word came 
that his case had been passed upon: "without my 
even learning or knowing I was on trial. The decision, 
however, was so favorable that it gave new feelings 
to my life." A fair price was offered for the cargo 
of flour and rice which Brest had already devoured; 
payment in bills of exchange on Hamburg, fifty days 
after date. Cobb sent his ship away in ballast, and set 
out for Paris to get his papers and his bills of exchange. 
"In about two days I was under weigh for Paris," 
writes Cobb, "with the national courier for govern- 
ment. We drove Jehu-like without stopping, except to 
change horses and mail, taking occasionally a mouth- 
ful of bread and washing it down with low-priced 
Burgundy wine. As to sleep I did not get one wink 
during the whole six hundred and eighty-four miles. 
We had from ten to twelve mounted horsemen for 
guard during the night, and to prove that the pre- 
caution was necessary, the second morning after 
leaving Brest, just before the guard left us, we wit- 
nessed a scene that filled us with horror: the remains 
of a courier lying in the road, the master, postillion, 
and five horses lying dead and mangled by it, and the 
mail mutilated and scattered in all directions. How- 
ever, the next stage was only five miles and not con- 
sidered dangerous, and we proceeded on. We reached 




QD 
fe 



W 
H 



THE CAPTAINS 223 

Paris on a beautiful June morning." But here was the 
beginning of fresh trouble: matters there were moving 
too fast for much attention to be given a young Amer- 
ican shipmaster in quest of papers. Cobb writes that 
it was in "the bloody reign of Robespierre. I minuted 
down a thousand persons that I saw beheaded by the 
infernal guillotine, and probably saw as many more 
that I did not minute down/' He was surfeited with 
horrors and despairing of his mission as time passed 
swiftly on toward the termination of his fifty days of 
grace, when a friendly Frenchman at his hotel ad- 
vised him to appeal direct to Robespierre, "saying 
that he was partial to Americans." On the instant a 
note was despatched: "An American citizen, captured 
by a French frigate on the high seas, requests a per- 
sonal interview and to lay his grievances before the 
citizen Robespierre." And within an hour came the 
answer: "I will grant citizen Cobb an interview to- 
morrow at 10 A.M. Robespierre." The event proved 
Robespierre to be sympathetic* and, moreover, that 
he spoke very good English. Cobb told him of his 
unavailing visits to the "Office of the Twenty-third 
Department." "Go again to the office," said Robes- 
pierre, "and tell citizen F. T. that you come from 
Robespierre, and if he does not produce your papers 
and finish your business immediately, he will hear 
from me again in a way not so pleasing to him." Such a 
message, with the guillotine working overtime in the 
Place de la Concorde, was likely to produce results, 
and the affair was concluded with despatch. But 
Robespierre was near his eclipse; and hardly had 



224 OLD CAPE COD 

Cobb received his papers than, to his horror, he was 
to see Robespierre's head falling into the basket. He 
waited not upon the order of his going, but fled from 
Paris, and arrived at Hamburg the very day before; 
Ms bills became due. "The fortunate result of this 
voyage increased my fame as a shipmaster," is his 
sole comment upon the adventure, "but allowed me 
only a few days at home.'* 

He was off again in the Monsoon, a new ship then, 
that was to prove a famous money-getter for more 
than one Cape Cod captain. His owners gave him a 
valuable cargo with directions "to find a market for 
it in Europe"; for certain hogsheads of rum, however, 
they advised Ireland. Permission to land it there 
was not forthcoming. "Matters were arranged, how- 
ever," writes Cobb, "so that between the cove of 
Cork and the Scilly Islands eight hogsheads of New 
England rum were thrown overboard, and a small 
pilot boat hove on board a bag containing sixty-four 
English guineas." Again a good sale was made at 
Hamburg, but a later venture there proved more 
difficult of achievement than the rum transaction on 
the Irish coast: for by that time the English blockade 
extended to Hamburg, and he was turned back to 
England where, at Yarmouth, he received permis- 
sion to proceed to any port not included in the block- 
ade. But Cobb meant to sell his cargo in Hamburg. 
He cleared for Copenhagen, landed his goods at 
Liibeck, and transported them overland to Ham- 
burg where another profitable exchange of commodi- 
ties was effected. Hardly was he at home again for a 



THE CAPTAINS 225 

visit at his Cape Cod farm than a messenger arrived 
with orders for him to proceed to Malaga. And at 
Malaga he was informed that the British Orders in 
Council went into force that day forbidding vessels 
taking a return cargo. "Of course this would make 
such a cargo very desirable," Cobb remarks. He 
needed no further incentive to "manage the affair," 
"The American consul thought there would be but 
little risk if I hurried, and in eight days I was ready 
to sail/* He made for Gibraltar, and was promptly 
overhauled by a frigate. "Whereupon," says Cobb, 
"I told them the truth: that I was from Malaga 
bound for Boston; that I had come there to avail my- 
self of a clearance from a British port and a convoy 
through the gut. And after I had seen the principal, 
placing on the counter before his eyes a two-ounce 
piece of gold, I was permitted to go with my clear- 
ance to the American consul. A signal gun was fired 
that morning and I was the first to move, being ap- 
prehensive that some incident might yet subject me 
to that fatal investigation. How it was managed to 
dear out a cargo of Spanish goods from Gibraltar, 
under the British Orders in Council, was a subject of 
most intense speculation in Boston, but I had made a 
good voyage for all concerned." It is not remarkable 
that he was allowed no long interval for fanning be- 
fore he was off again for "a voyage to Europe." His 
owners had learned to their great gain that it was best 
to give Cobb the freedom of the seas and the markets 
ashore. He proceeded to Alexandria, Virginia, loaded 
with flour that sold well at Cadiz, and returned in 



226 OLD CAPE COD 

ballast to Norfolk where he found orders to load 
again at Alexandria. But America was now ready to 
clamp down her Embargo Law which every Yankee 
captain worthy of the name was prepared to evade. 
Mr. Randolph from Congress had sent news of it to a 
ship merchant at Alexandria who passed on the word 
to Cobb. " What you do must be done quickly, for 
the embargo will be upon you at 10 A.M. on Sunday." 
Cobb tells the story of his achievement. "It was now 
Friday P.M. We had about a hundred tons of ballast 
on board which must be removed, and upwards of 
three thousand barrels of flour to take in and stow 
away, provisions, wood, and water to take on board, 
a crew to ship, and get to sea before the embargo 
took possession. I found that we could get one supply 
of flour from a block of stores directly alongside the 
ship, and by paying three-eighths of a dollar extra, we 
had liberty if stopped by the embargo to return it." 
But Cobb meant to regain for his employers that 
three-eighths of a dollar, and the tidy additional 
profit that was to be made on a cargo of American 
flour at Cadiz. "Saturday morning was fine weather. 
About sunrise I went to the 'lazy corner' so called, 
and pressed into service every negro that came upon 
the stand and sent them on board the ship, until I 
thought there were as many as could work. I then 
visited the sailors' boarding-houses, where I shipped 
my crew, paid the advance to their landlords, and re- 
ceived their obligations to see each sailor on board at 
sunrise next morning. It had now got to be about 
twelve o'clock, and the ship must be cleared at the 



THE CAPTAINS 327 

custom house before one. *WBy Cobb/ said the col- 
lector there, 'what's the use of clearing the ship? 
You can't get away. The embargo will be here at ten 
o'clock to-morrow morning. And even if you get your 
ship below, I shall have boats out that will stop you 
before you get three leagues to sea/ Said I, 'Mr. 
Taylor, will you be so kind as to clear my ship?' 
*Oh, yes/ said he. And accordingly the ship was 
cleared and I returned on board and found every- 
thing going on well. Finally, to shorten the story, at 
nine that evening we had about three thousand and 
fifty barrels of flour, one longboat on board in the 
chocks, water, wood and provisions on board and 
stowed, a pilot engaged, and all in readiness for the 
sea." The tide served at eight in the morning, the 
sailors were aboard, the pilot had come, and down the 
narrow, winding river they started with a fair wind 
that helped them on the first leg of their journey. 
But at Hampton Roads, in a dead calm, the govern- 
ment boat hove in sight. "Well/* said Cobb to his 
mate, "I fear we are gone/* But it was never his way 
to give up hope while a move in the game remained to 
him : when the boat was so near that with his glass lie 
could descry the features of its crew, a breeze came 
puffing along, and he made for sea. In about ten 
minutes the boat gave up the chase, Mr. Taylor, of 
Alexandria, satisfied, no doubt, that he tad dis- 
charged his duty. 

Cobb gave the first notice of the embargo at Cadiz. 
"The day before I sailed/* he writes, "I dined with a 
large party at the American consul's and> it being 



228 OLD CAPE COD 

mentioned that I was to sail next day, I was con- 
gratulated by a British officer on the safety of our flag. 
Well, I thought the same, when at the time war be- 
tween England and America was raging. I sailed from 
Cadiz on the twenty-fifth of July, 1812, bound for 
Boston, and I never felt safer on account of enemies 
on the high seas." But for once his confidence was 
not justified. Hardly had he entered the Grand Banks 
than he was overhauled by an English cruiser, with 
whose captain he proceeded to bargain on the point 
of ransom for his ship. "What will you give for her, 55 
asked the Britisher, "in exchange for a clear pass- 
port into Boston?" "Four thousand dollars," replied 
Cobb at a venture. "Well," said the other, "give us 
the money." "Oh, thank you," said Cobb, "if it were 
on board, you'd take it without the asking. I'll give 
you a draft on London." "No, cash, or we burn the 
ship." "Well," said Cobb coolly, "you'll not burn me 
in her, I hope." The upshot was that a prize crew was 
put aboard, and Cobb had the pleasure of being 
convoyed by the frigate into Saint John's, where he 
joined a company of about twenty Yankee masters 
of ships and their officers, at the so-called "Prisoners' 
HalL" Twenty-seven American prize ships were in 
port; and in a few days the Yankee prize Alert came 
in, with a British crew and American officers, under 
the protection of a cartel flag, to treat for an exchange 
of prisoners. The old admiral of the port was in a rage 
because of the irregularity of making the cartel on 
the high seas. "I'm likely to join you here," said the 
Yankee captain to his countrymen at Prisoners' Hall. 



THE CAPTAINS 229 

However, in a few moments along came a note from 
the admiral saying that "he found that the honor of 
the British officers was pledged for the fulfilling of the 
contract, and as he knew his government always re- 
deemed the pledges of its officers, he would receive 
the [British] officers and crew on the Alert, and would 
give in exchange every American prisoner in port 
(there were two to one) and we must be off in twenty- 
four hours. Now commenced a scene of confusion 
and bustle. The crew of the cartel were soon landed, 
and the Americans as speedily took possession/* 

At twelve midnight, in due course of time there- 
after, Captain Cobb arrived at his home, and tapped 
on the window of a downstairs bedroom where he knew 
his wife to be sleeping. At first she thought it a twig 
of the sweetbriar bush. Then, " Who is there?' cried 
she. 'It is I,* said I. 'Well, what do you want?* 
'To come in/ 'For what?* said she. Before I could 
answer I heard my daughter, who was in bed with 
her, say, 'Why, ma, it's pa/ It was enough. The doors 
flew open, and the greetings of affection and con- 
sanguinity multiplied upon me rapidly. Thus in a 
moment was I transported to the greatest earthly 
bliss a man can enjoy, viz: to the enjoyment of the 
happy family circle/* 

With these cheerful words Mr. Cobb ends his 
record. For a year or two thereafter he remained at 
home, and then was off again to sea. In 1819 and 1820 
he made trips to Africa, and on the second voyage re- 
turned with so much fever aboard that the ship, as a 
means to disinfecting it, was sunk at the wharf. Then 



230 OLD CAPE COD 

he retired from sea he had built a fine Georgian 
house in 1800 and filled many offices ashore. His 
youth was crammed with adventure; he followed the 
sea longer than some of his mates; yet at the age of 
fifty-two, when he left it with a modest fortune, he 
showed as much zest in the management of more 
humdrum affairs: in due sequence he was town clerk, 
treasurer, inspector-general, representative to the 
General Court, senator, justice of the peace, and 
brigadier-general in the militia; no town committee 
seems to have been complete without him; he was a 
steadfast member of the liberal church which had 
taken possession of the old North Parish. And on one 
of those foreign voyages he had had painted a portrait 
of himself : a gallant, high-bred youth, with "banged " 
hair and curls, in Directoire dress, rolling collar, mus- 
lin stock and frills. The lovely colors of the old pastel 
hold their own, the soft blue of the surtout, the keen 
eyes, the handsome, alert face. A young man who 
knew something of his worth, Captain Cobb, and a 
young man who made exceptional opportunity to put 
that worth to the test. 

A contemporary of Cobb's was Freeman Foster, 
born in 1782 at Brewster before its historic division 
from Harwich. At the age of ten he was off on fishing- 
voyages with his father, who had been a whaler; at 
fourteen he had begun to work his way up to the 
quarter-deck of the merchant service; his schooling 
was acquired in the intervals ashore. Curiously, in all 
his seafaring, he never crossed the "Line/' but cruised 
between Boston, New Orleans, and the West Indies, 



THE CAPTAINS 231 

the Russian ports of Archangel and Kronstadt, and 
to Elsinore. At fifty-five lie retired to his farm, and in 
the Embargo War served as an officer in the militia 
under his neighbor General Cobb. He had been a ro- 
bust boy and grew to be a mighty man, well over six 
feet in height and broad in proportion. He had a 
family of ten children; and his record tallies with that 
of many another old sea-captain: he "left behind 
him a reputation for strict integrity and sturdy man- 
hood." 

Jeremiah Mayo, of Brewster, born in 1786, was one 
of nine huge brothers who were said to measure, in the 
aggregate, something like fifty-five feet. His father 
meant to make a blacksmith of him, with fishing- 
voyages, in the season, as relaxation. At sixteen he 
had a forge of his own in his father's shop and could 
shoe all the horses that were brought there. But 
Jeremiah had no notion of confining his adventures 
to shoeing horses and catching fish, and at eighteen 
he was off for a voyage to Marseilles when, for his 
ability, he received two dollars a month more than 
any other sailor aboard. On his next voyage to Mal- 
aga, Leghorn, Alicante, and Marseilles, his ship, the 
Industry, was attacked off Gibraltar by the Algerines 
and escaped with some casualties, among them a 
flesh wound for Jeremiah. The captain, Gamaliel 
Bradford, with his leg shot away, had to be left in 
hospital at Lisbon. On his third voyage he and a 
young cousin were first and second mate and, the 
captain falling ill, the two lads, each only nineteen, 
had to take the ship by the dangerous " north-about J> 



232 OLD CAPE COD 

through the Hebrides from Amsterdam to Cadiz; and 
on a second voyage with the same captain, who seems 
to have been one of faint heart and would have given 
up the ship when she sprung a leak. Mayo took her 
safely to port, and at Bordeaux, where she was sold, 
sailed her for the French buyers to a Breton port with 
a cargo of claret, worth there twice its value at 
Bordeaux. By skilful manoeuvre he evaded the British 
patrol, landed his precious cargo, and returned safely 
to Bordeaux where he shipped with a Yankee cap- 
tain, with a cargo of Medoc, for Spain. He arrived at 
Corunna a few days after the historic battle there, and 
on a later voyage remembers seeing the monument 
erected to Sir John Moore. In the Embargo War he 
was captured by an English frigate, and if the wind 
had not failed him would have turned the tables by 
bowling the prize crew into Baltimore as prisoners. 
"And I would n't have blamed you if you had,'* he 
remembered as the sportsmanlike comment of his 
captor. Immediately after the battle of Waterloo he 
was at Havre, where he was approached by an agent 
of Napoleon with a proposition to take the emperor to 
America, He promptly accepted the hazard, and was 
disappointed when he heard Napoleon had been 
taken; had Napoleon been able to reach the Sally, 
he might have escaped Saint Helena, for she was not 
spoken from Havre to Boston. Mayo greatly admired 
Napoleon, and had seen him a-horseback at Bayonne 
when he was landing his army for Spain; at Paris, in 
1815, he heard the shots in the Luxembourg Gardens 
when Ney was executed; he remembers seeing La- 



THE CAPTAINS 233 

f ayette driving away from the Hall of Assembly. His 
vessel had been one of the first to enter a British port 
after the War of 1812, and the captain of an English 
frigate there sent him an invitation to dine and took 
occasion to express admiration of the American 
fighting quality on the seas. Mayo retired in good 
time to his comfortable forty-acre farm in Brewster, 
but by no means to inactivity. He was justice of the 
peace and well read in the law, a licensed auctioneer, 
a skilful surveyor and draughtsman, and was presi- 
dent of the Marine Insurance Company. It was re- 
membered that he had "rare conversational powers/* 
which were well employed, we may suppose, in de- 
picting the scenes of his eventful life. Mayo was as 
handsome a man as Cobb, his portrait showing a fine, 
spirited profile, with aggressive nose and a beautifully 
arched setting of the eye. He must have been mag- 
nificent with his six feet four of height. 

Until the end of the clipper-ship era, Brewster was 
famous for its deep-water sailors, and at one time no 
less than sixty captains hailed its little farms as home. 
In the later period one of them was to rival the adven- 
tures of Robinson Crusoe and also of Mrs. Leeks and 
Mrs. Aleshine. One suspects, even, that Stockton may 
have heard the story. His fine clipper ship, the Wild 
Wave, fifteen hundred tons, with a crew of thirty all 
told, and ten passengers, San Francisco to Valparaiso, 
was wrecked on Oeno, a coral island of the Pacific 
about half a mile in circumference. Passengers and 
crew, provisions and sails for tents were safely 
landed. Water they found by digging for it. But 



234 OLD CAPE COD 

Josiah Knowles was not the man to remain inert, and 
after two weeks he took a ship's boat, the mate and 
five men, and his treasure chest of eighteen thousand 
dollars in gold, and set out for Pitcairn's Island which 
he knew to be distant some hundred miles. Safely 
there, he found to his amazement the island deserted 
and the inhabitants decamped to Norfolk Island, a 
notice to that effect, for the benefit of possible callers, 
posted in several of the houses. They had left behind 
them much possible provision in the way of sheep, 
goats, bullocks, and poultry, and there was plenty 
of tropical fruit such as oranges, bananas, breadfruit, 
and cocoanuts. But it was plain that the voyage must 
be continued if Knowles was to rescue his companions 
marooned at Oeno, and he himself be returned to 
civilization. By ill luck their boat, shortly after they 
had landed, was stove in on a reef, and their first care 
was to replace it. They found six axes, one hammer, 
and a few other tools, and some of the houses were 
burned to obtain nails and iron. The timber had to be 
felled and hewed as best could be; and their boat, the 
John Adams, was launched July 23, a little more than 
four months after the wreck at Oeno. The ensign of 
the new craft was fashioned from the red hangings of 
the chapel pulpit, an old shirt, and some blue overalls. 
All being ship-shape and in order, Captain Knowles 
again set sail with his gold, the mate and two men, 
and "the wind being unfavourable 5 * headed for the 
Marquesas. Their destination was Tahiti, fifteen hun- 
dred miles distant. Three of his men had preferred 
the comfortable solitude of Pitcairn's Island to such 



THE CAPTAINS 235 

an adventure. But fortune favored the daring, and on 
August 4 they made Nukahiva, where, by extraor- 
dinary luck, for no American ship had called at the 
island in the previous five years, they found the Yankee 
sloop-of-war Vandalia. Next morning, with his usual 
promptness, Knowles sold his boat to the island mis- 
sionary, and was off on the Vandalia which sailed for 
the rescue of the marooned on Oeno and Pitcairn's, 
dropping Knowles and his men at Tahiti. The mate 
joined the Vandalia as an officer. Knowles, at Tahiti, 
was offered passage on a French frigate to Honolulu, 
where he found an American barque loading for San 
Francisco and arrived there the middle of September. 
He found letters from home, but could carry news 
there as quickly as it could be sent, as there was no 
communication overland then except by pony ex- 
press. Sailing for New York via Panama, he arrived 
there late in October and telegraphed home, where he 
had long been given up for lost. Fourteen years later, in 
his ship, the Glory of the Seas, he stopped at Pitcairn's 
Island, now restored as the habitation of man, was 
received royally by the Governor and natives, and 
speeded on his way by the entire population, each 
bearing a gift the island fruits, ducks, chickens, 
even sheep, "enough,** said he, **to load a boat." 
Some years later he retired from sea to live in San 
Francisco, where the Governor of Pitcairn's Island, 
whenever he came to town, made his headquarters 
at the home of Captain Knowles. 

One could go on indefinitely recounting the adven- 
tures of these men, among them many pioneers in one 



236 OLD CAPE COD 

part of the world or another. A Brewster sailor went 
to Oregon in 1846, and a few years later sold out his 
frame house and saw and grist mill to his brother, 
while he himself, from 1854 to 1858, carried cargoes of 
ship-spars from Puget Sound to China, the first car- 
goes to Hong Kong. In 1794, John Kenrick, command- 
ing the Columbia Redivivia, with the sloop Lady 
Washington as tender, was the first American master 
to circle the globe. He rounded the Horn and sailed up 
the coast to the Columbia Eiver, which he is said to 
have named from his ship. That he gave over to his 
mate, Robert Gray, with instructions to explore the 
river, while he himself rigged his tender as a brig and 
crossed the Pacific, swinging around home again by 
way of the East Indies and "the Cape." Earlier than 
that the Stork of Boston, under a Yarmouth captain, 
is said to have been the first to carry the American 
flag around the Cape of Good Hope; and Brewster 
captains were the first to fly the American merchant 
flag in the White Sea. A Brewster man, in 1852, car- 
ried the first load of ice, and a frame house for storing 
it, to Iquique. This idea of sending ice to the tropics 
was to net thousands of per cent profit. This same 
master carried, and placed, the great gun named 
the" swamp angel' 5 that was expected to retake Fort 
Sumter, and he transported troops for Butler. In 1870 
also, he carried a valuable cargo of war material to the 
French at Brest; and on the return voyage shipped, at 
London, many passengers and a lot of animals for 
Barnum's circus. They were so delayed on the home- 
ward passage that their provisions were nearly ex- 



THE CAPTAINS 237 

hausted and, as it was, several trained ponies and goats 
were sacrificed to feed the more valuable lions and 
tigers. Collins, of Truro, was a blockade-runner in 
1812, sailing open boats from the lower Cape towns 
to Boston, but was captured in his first venture on the 
deep sea. Later he was in the coasting trade up and 
down as far as Mexico, and had many medals for 
rescue at sea; later still he established the famous 
Collins Line. Hallett, of Barnstable, who died in 1849, 
was a pioneer in this coasting trade, and also as a 
saver of souls: for he raised the first Bethel flag for 
seamen's worship in New York and in Boston. He 
was a "professor" from his twentieth year, and was 
said to be "singularly gifted in prayer and exhorta- 
tion." In 1808 he built the Ten Sisters, the most 
noted packet for years running between New York 
and Boston. Rider, of Truro, who combined with sea- 
faring the trade of carpenter, went West in 1837, and 
built "the first boat to navigate the Illinois Eiver by 
mule power, 5 * and afterwards built other famous river 
boats. ABamstable captain transported Mark Twain 
on the first leg of his "Innocents Abroad" expedi- 
tion; another was master of the beautiful Gravina, 
named from the admiral in command of the Spanish 
reserves at Trafalgar, which on her maiden voyage, 
New York to Shanghai, took out some of Bishop 
Boone's missionaries. A Brewster man made a for- 
tune by establishing a stage-line to the Australian 
gold-fields. \ 

It was natural that, in 1849, the Cape Cod men 
should be among the first to start for California; and 



238 OLD CAPE COD 

it is interesting, also, that the majority of them, at 
least, in time returned to their life at sea. A Barnsta- 
ble captain, Harris, who had received a medal from 
the Admiralty for saving a British crew in the North 
Sea, sailed, with his son, for San Francisco, where their 
brig was abandoned at the water-front and was used 
as an eating-house. Captain Harris, in due course, re- 
turned to Barnstable, and became sheriff of the county. 
There is testimony that he was "always young in 
spirit: it was a pleasure to see him dance, for he 
showed us more fancy steps and more of the old ways 
of dancing than we had ever seen." Cape sailors were 
more apt to man the clippers than hunt for gold. 
A Hyannis captain remembered that an owner once 
said to him when he was looking for a berth: "The 
new clipper ship Spit-fire is lading for San Francisco 
and the cap'n's a driver. He wants a mate can jump 
over the fore-yard every morning before breakfast." 
"I'm his man," retorted the seaman, "if it's laid on 
the deck." He shipped forthwith, and had a passage 
of one hundred and two days to San Francisco. A 
group of eight Brewster men and four from Boston 
combined seamanship and gold-hunting by buying a 
brig of a hundred and twenty tons and manning it 
themselves. They elected their officers, the rest of the 
owners going as common sailors. "We were all square- 
rig sailors except Ben Crocker," writes one of the 
"seamen," "and he was made cap'nof the main boom, 
as the square-rig sailors were afraid of it." The cook 
worked his passage out, and there were six passen- 
gers; all ate together in the cabin. In a hundred and 



THE CAPTAINS 239 

forty-seven days they made San Francisco, where 
they sold the brig for half what she cost them, and 
"each man took his own course." There is no record 
that any of them made a fortune. 

One Forty-Niner, sailing for "Frisco," was lured 
by richer tales of gold to Australia, whither he 
worked his passage only to be wrecked on the coast, 
and turning short-about for a trading voyage among 
the Pacific islands was again wrecked, and in the lapse 
of time mourned as dead by his family. But in a year 
or so news of him came from the Carolines, where he 
had become virtual king of one of the islands, mar- 
ried the chiefs daughter, taught the natives the uses 
of civilization in respect of houses, clothing, and the 
sanctity of the marriage tie, and was building up a 
pretty trade in tortoise-shell, cocoa oil, and hogs. For 
nearly ten years he ruled his little kingdom, and then 
was killed by jealous invaders from another island 
who, worsted in battle, were literally torn limb from 
limb by his enraged people, and thrown to the sharks, 
thereby losing not only life here, but all hope of the 
hereafter. 

The missionary brig Morning Star had often touched 
at King John's Island, and generous testimony was 
offered that "John Higgins of Brewster has done more 
towards civilizing these natives than any missionary 
could have done." And no less than three Yarmouth 
captains had at one time or another commanded the 
several succeeding vessels of the Board of Missions, 
all of which were named the Morning Star. 

There are records enough of mutiny and fire and of 



240 OLD CAPE COD 

disaster other than shipwreck at sea the captain 
wounded and his wife quelling the insurgents; a coal 
cargo afire in the South Pacific, the crew taking to the 
boats to make the Marquesas twenty-one hundred 
miles distant; a captain "subduing a fire in his cargo 
of coals," outward bound to Singapore, and receiving 
a gold watch as a reward from the underwriters for 
saving the ship. A Brewster captain and his mate, 
" taking the sun " in a stiff northwest gale, were swept 
overboard by a heavy sea, the mate to his death, but 
the captain, quick of wit, grasping a rope as he went 
overboard, took a double turn round his arm; the 
wheelman saw him, the watch ran aft and hauled him 
in so badly wrenched he could not stand, but with 
sufficient spirit to be lashed to the deck-house and 
command the vessel through the tail of the storm. A 
Barnstable captain in the Mediterranean service was 
fatally stabbed by a Malayan sailor, who jumped 
overboard and swam ashore, and the captain lived 
long enough to reach home. On the Sunshine, Mel- 
bourne to Callao, one of the crew poisoned the offi- 
cers, who all recovered except the captain, another 
Barnstable man. 

Nearly a hundred years ago now, the brig Polly, 
under command of Captain William Cazneau, and 
with two Dennis men, accomplished seamen both, 
among the crew, sailed from Boston. Just south of 
the Gulf Stream she ran into a fierce gale that laid 
her on her beam ends, and in order to right her the 
masts were cut away. Loaded with lumber, she could 
not sink, and as if invisible she floated unseen, ex- 



THE CAPTAINS 241 

posed to every caprice of wind and weather, in and 
out of the most frequented trade-routes of the sea. 
Provisions and water exhausted, one by one the 
crew died until only the captain and an Indian cook 
were left. They ate barnacles which by now were 
thick enough on the ship's side, obtained fire by the 
old Indian device of rubbing two sticks together, and 
water by distillation. For one hundred and ninety 
days they managed to keep themselves alive until at 
last a ship sighted them; and the captain, in fur- 
ther proof of an iron constitution, lived to the good 
age of ninety-seven. 

In 1855 the Titan, commanded by a young Brew- 
ster captain who lived on through the first decade of 
the twentieth century, alert and active in the public 
service to the end of his long life, was chartered by 
the French Government to transport troops to the 
Crimea. For two years he cruised back and forth 
through the Mediterranean in such service, and then, 
home again, took from New Orleans to Liverpool the 
largest cargo of cotton that had ever been carried, 
and was nearly wrecked making port in a stiff gale. 
Refitted and made seaworthy, she took out over a 
thousand passengers to Melbourne, thence pro- 
ceeded to Callao for a cargo of guano for London; 
but homeward bound, she sprung a leak in the South 
Atlantic and had to be abandoned some eleven hun- 
dred miles off the coast of Brazil. Sails were set and 
all took to the boats which, provisioned with biscuit, 
canned meats, jam, and none too much water, were 
moored to the ship that she might serve them as long 



242 OLD CAPE COD 

as might be safe. Next morning the captain and an 
officer boarded her, saw there was no hope for her, 
returned to the boats, and cast off. They knew there 
was an island, Tristan d'Acunha, somewhere north of 
them, but as it was "too small to hit/' they decided to 
make for the mainland. But they were in the "belt of 
calms/' which might extend for ten miles or a hun- 
dred and ten, and oars must come before sails. As the 
men bent to their work, one cried out to look at the 
old Titan. A slight breeze aloft catching her sails, she 
had righted and seemed to be following them; but 
even as they looked, and wondered, she careened two 
or three times and went down. In a shorter time than 
might have been hoped, they were picked up, by a 
Frenchman bound for Havre who refused to inter- 
rupt his voyage for their convenience; but being pro- 
visioned for a small crew and the Titan's men num- 
bering fifty-three, he was soon glad to land them at 
Pernambuco. This same captain told of a voyage 
from Australia to Hong Kong when he was sailing 
by some old charts, "seventeen hundred and some- 
thing** the "English Pilot" for a guess wherein 
certain islands were sketched in as "uncertain." 
They were running into this region on a beautiful 
moonlight night, and the captain and a passenger he 
was carrying went aloft and smoked, and watched, 
until past midnight. But at two he was called up 
again, and there directly over the bow were palm- 
trees thick in the moonlight. They had grazed, and 
cleared, the island of Monte Verde, some twenty 
miles in length, which of course was charted on the 



THE CAPTAINS 243 

more modern maps of the day. And it was in this same 
southern sea that he once ran in and out of a hurri- 
cane. He could have veered out of its path, but he 
was in his rash youth, and the fringe of it giving a good 
breeze, he reefed up and went flying ahead under bare 
poles, through a tremendous gale that soon had hirn 
at its will. Suddenly, like a flash, there was entire calm, 
and stillness save for the distant roaring of the hur- 
ricane: he realized th^t he had got into the very cen- 
tre of it, which travels ahead only some twelve miles 
an hour, but whirls round and round with incredi- 
ble velocity. He knew that he had somehow to drive 
his ship out of the vortex that was sure to suck him 
down, and again through the outer turmoil boom- 
ing like thunder, flattening the boat on her beam ends 
he, making sure the end had come, but driving her 
on, again won through, and the boat righting herself, 
continued on her way. The captain never again wooed 
the favoring breeze of a hurricane. 

The very names of their ships stir the imagination: 
the Light Foot, the Chariot of Fame, the Chispa, the 
Rosario, named for the wife of an owner who had 
been a captain in his day and had loved and won a 
Spanish beauty. The Whirlwind and Challenger were 
famous clipper ships; and one man commanded suc- 
cessively the Undaunted, the Kingfisher, the Mon- 
soon and Mogul and Ocean King, and the steamers 
Zenobia and Palmyra and Edward Everett. There 
was the Young Turk and Santa Claus, the Tally Ho, 
the Expounder and Centaur and Cape Cod; the 
Agenor and Charmer and Valhalla, the Shooting 



214 OLD CAPE COD 

Star and the Flying Dragon, the Altof Oak, and, 
quaintly, the Rice Plant; the Oxenbridge and Kedar. 
Some ships were so famous that when their day was 
done, they passed down their names to ships of a 
younger generation than theirs. Masters changed 
from one ship to another, and discussion as to how 
this captain and that handled the Expounder or 
Monsoon on such or such a voyage filled many a long 
evening of their old age at home. 

n 

As captains grew toward middle age, and the children 
were old enough to be left at home with relatives or 
put into boarding-school, their wives not infrequently 
accompanied them on the long voyages "to some port 
or ports in Europe at the discretion of the captain," 
as his orders might cite; or farther afield to "Bom- 
bay and such ports in the East Indies or China as 
the captain may determine, the voyage not to exceed 
two years" or a longer matter when profit was 
found in cruising back and forth between the Indies 
and the ports "down under." But wherever the port 
might be, there were sure to be Yankee ships, and 
many were the visits between ship and ship, com- 
manded, perhaps, by old neighbors at home; more 
formal festivities ashore were offered by consignees, 
or the American consul, or a foreign acquaintance 
that was renewed from voyage to voyage. 

In 1844 a Barnstable captain wrote from France: 
"Dunkirk and Bordeaux are fine places'and contain 
many curiosities to us. We had more invitations to 



THE CAPTAINS 245 

dine than we wished as the dinners in this country 
are very lengthy, say from three to four hours before 
you rise from the table, and then not dry. To-day we 
have been to the Bordeaux Mechanical Exposition or 
Fair, and it is splendid. There are nine American ves- 
sels here, and five of the captains have their wives.'* 
These Barnstable captains and their families, when in 
New York, used to stop at a hotel opposite Fulton 
Ferry, and when they went uptown of an evening to 
the Crystal Palace or the theatre or opera, they would 
charter a special Fulton Ferry 'bus for the journey. 
And if the voyage began with an American port of 
call, at New Orleans, we will say, there was plenty of 
gayety balls, theatre-parties, opera, and oyster- 
suppers and more than once a young shipmaster 
was captivated by the bright eyes of some Southern 
beauty. 

A long voyage to Australia and India was another 
matter. The diary and "letters home" of a captain 
and his wife could tell us that; and while not brilliant 
in themselves, such records give us the atmosphere 
of these old times as could perhaps nothing else. On 
a February 16, some sixty years ago, a captain writes 
to his children who were in boarding-school: "We 
have had a very long and dull passage, with many 
calms and head winds, and are only to the equator and 
thirty-nine days out. It has tried my patience pretty 
well; but I can't make winds or weather/* His wife 
was with him, and he was also taking a passenger on 
this voyage to Australia. "It is very warm and fine 
after a few days of hard rain when we caught plenty 



246 OLD CAPE COD 

of water so we can wash as much as we like, and 
clothes belonging to all hands are hung out drying all 
over the ship. While I am writing the rest are reading 
and sitting around the cabin with as little clothing on 
as possible. I imagine you at church, muffled up in 
cloaks and furs, listening to a good sermon while we 
have to do our own preaching. If I'd had a letter 
ready a few days ago, I could have sent it by a 
barque bound up to New York which I spoke. Yet it 
would have been difficult, as it was in the evening and 
I could not understand who she was, and don't know 
that she understood our name. Mother busies herself 
sewing when she feels like it, and reads the rest of the 
time. I must bid you good-morning now and attend 
to getting an observation and see where we are." On 
February 28 he continues the letter: "I am now about 
where I expect to pass the Sunrise, if nothing has 
happened to her. I look for her every day. I don't 
know what poor Freeman would say if we should 
meet them." Freeman was the oldest son who had in- 
sisted on going to sea to "toughen" himself in a losing 
fight with "consumption"; and here on the wide 
stretches of the southern seas his father hoped to 
have word with him. " Mother is sewing on old 
clothes of some sort," he went on to tell them, "and 
if she is well I think she will have time to mend all up. 
Time passes rapidly, but I often think of our little 
home being shut up and how many happy days we 
spent there, and hope we may all live to spend many 
more." He ends his week's stint of writing with some 
excellent moral advice. March 3: "We are now going 



THE CAPTAINS 247 

for the Cape of Good Hope with a moderate breeze 
and good weather. Mother has been washing a little, 
and is now much taken up with some story she is 
reading. I suppose it is washing day at home, and I 
fancy Mrs. Lincoln hanging her clothes in our yard." 
March 15 : " Good-morning, my dear children. I wish I 
could hear you answer to it, but thousands of miles 
now separate us and every day still more. We are 
now abreast of the Cape, and have had some rough 
weather since I wrote last. Mother is first-rate, and 
can eat as much salt junk as any of us. To-day she is 
ironing a little, and I have been pitching quoits with 
the passenger for exercise. We see nothing but the 
blue sea now, not a vessel or anything else but some 
birds. We caught an albatross the other day, but we 
let him go again as it seemed cruel to deprive him of 
his liberty. We have got through all our hot weather, 
and I expect we shall soon want a fire while you will 
be having the spring the green grass and the trees 
putting forth their beauty, and I hope you will enjoy 
it well. I shall not write any more until I arrive. Be 
good children is the sincere wish of your own dear 
Father." 

On April 25 Mother writes Nancy a letter of anx- 
ious instructions as to closing the house after vaca- 
tion; because she is at the Antipodes, Mother is no 
less the careful housewife. "Take good care of the 
carpets; you need do nothing about the winter bed- 
clothes, they are all safe. Be sure that the skylight 
is secure, and if it leaks more than usual get Mr. 
Snow to repair it. If necessary, put more platters 



248 OLD CAPE COD 

to catch the water. Have the boys attend to the 
underpinning of the house so that the rats or skunks 
cannot get in; and tell them I wish they would paint 
my boxes and buckets. I wish them light-colored, 
and put them on the old table and in the sink to 
dry. You will find some gooseberry and currant pre- 
serve in the cellar which you can dispose of. Do not 
disturb a jar in the dining-room closet. When Free- 
man arrives have his sea-clothes put in the barn. Take 
good care of Clanrick's overcoat. If it is wet, see that 
it is dried as soon as possible, and if torn mend it 
immediately. You know it must last him another 
winter for his best. Do not forget to wear your rub- 
bers' 5 and so on. They were entering Melbourne 
Bay, and Mother, having unburdened her mind of its 
care, was now free to close her letter, which, as a 
steamer was sailing next day, would be sent back by 
the doctor, "who will board us this afternoon." "The 
boys [members of the crew, and neighbors at home] 
will not probably send letters this time. You will re- 
ceive this a month sooner than you anticipated. Give 
my love to grandmother. I often think of her, and 
hope she will not go to her old home to live alone. Tell 
her father will see that her board is paid. She need not 
give herself any uneasiness about that. I must now 
bid you good-bye with much love from your affec- 
tionate Mother/* 

And of course Mother had been keeping a Daily 
Journal, a copy of which, from time to time, she sent 
the children. "Just fifteen weeks from the time we 
left Boston we saw King's Island," she writes of the 



THE CAPTAINS 249 

end of their voyage. "It was a joyful sound to me 
when I heard the cry from aloft of Land Ho. I was 
almost tempted to go aloft as I had not caught a 
glimpse of land or even a rock since I left home. Soon 
after, I could see the high hills from the deck which 
are about one hundred and eighty miles from Mel- 
bourne. The next evening we saw the light, but the 
wind being fresh ahead we could not gain much, 
which was rather trying as we were anxious to get in. 
The twenty-eighth we took a pilot, and as I had an 
opportunity to send my letters I felt quite reconciled 
to my situation, it being beautiful weather and fine 
scenery. The land on both sides of us is covered with 
trees and shrubbery, fresh like ours in June, although 
autumn here. Arrived at our anchorage about two 
o'clock, and lots of people called aboard, Mr. Osborn, 
our consignee, among them. He invited us to go to 
church with hi on Sunday and dine with him and go 
to the Botanic Gardens, and we accepted. The Gar- 
dens are beautiful almost beyond description " but 
she does describe them, and charmingly too, and the 
birds there, and the waterfowl, "the plumage of which 
is superb." And she notes that tie Yarra Yarra River 
is "not half as wide as our pond/* " We called also at 
Mr. Smith's, a brother of our former minister. He 
has a very pretty place and gave me a very pretty 
bouquet. We returned to the ship about sunset very 
much pleased with my first day in Melbourne. Next 
morning we were taken up to the wharf, and I am 
glad to be here where I can come and go as I please. 
Father is busy, and I have been unpacking and 



250 OLD CAPE COD 

arranging my clothes, room, etc. I have got my cabin 
carpeted and it looks quite nice. Mr. Sinclair, our 
passenger, called this morning, and brought me some 
apples and pears and grapes a great treat. 29th: I 
intended to have gone to Melbourne shopping, but 
received an invitation from Mr. Osborn to go to tea 
and the opera in the evening. Some of the singing was 
good and the scenery was beautiful. I cannot compare 
it with American opera as I never went but once in 
my life and have forgotten about that. This is a great 
place for opera and theatre-going people, as well as 
spirit-drinking people. May 1st: To-day I presume 
you go a-Maying." And now Mother had her shop- 
ping expedition, and notes that cotton cloth is cheaper 
than at home. "I find our last year's goods and styles 
just received here, and of about the same price." 
Like other Americans in foreign lands she is a little 
nettled that "they know in a moment I am an Amer- 
ican/' The next week being rainy, she did little but 
"make a few calls upon some English ladies"; and 
then came a day spent at South Yarra with "the 
first American lady I had seen since I left home. I was 
delighted to see one home face, and she seemed as 
happy to see me. We were not Ipng getting acquainted, 
and our tongues ran fast I can assure you. I informed 
her of the latest fashions, while she told me of the 
points of interest I should visit. They have a beauti- 
ful garden and I took lots of slips, and hope to fetch 
some of the plants home." With the wife of a New- 
buryport captain she "went to Melbourne to see what 
there was to be seen/' and there was more gayety " 



THE CAPTAINS 251 

afoot. "You will think me dissipating largely in going 
to operas and theatres. I think I am, indeed, but as I 
have no particular regard for such amusement do not' 
think I shall be injured by going." And she did cer- 
tainly "see what there was to be seen." Nothing es- 
caped Mother's observant eye. "I cannot begin to 
tell you of it in a letter," she writes, "but will leave it 
till some winter evening when seated around our little 
light-stand at home. But I am resolved to see some- 
thing of the world while I can." 

And on May 20, it was up anchor, and off again: 
"It seemed almost like getting home and we soon 
got under weigh and bid farewell to Melbourne. We 
have two gentlemen passengers for Calcutta, and 
I hope we shall have a quick passage. I have en- 
joyed myself, and have often wished you were with 
me to enjoy the pleasures too. Perhaps some day 
you may do so, if you, Nancy, catch a sea-captain; 
and you, Clanrick, may be a merchant here. I must 
now bid you good-night, with much love and kisses 
from Father and Mother." The letter was off to them 
by the pilot, and Father and Mother for Calcutta 
where their visit was not as pleasant as at Melbourne. 
Father and many of the crew were ill. "I was very 
anxious indeed," writes Mother to the children, "and 
was thankful to have some home friends near. Cap- 
tains Dunbar and Crowell were very kind. They have 
done all of Father's business they possibly could so 
that he need not get overdone." The sick boys among 
the crew are a particular anxiety: "They are so care- 
less and imprudent of themselves that I fear we shall 



252 OLD CAPE COD 

not bring them all home with us. They will not hear 
to reason, but will eat everything which comes to 
hand and sleep in the open air which is enough to kill 
any one. But the doctor says they will soon be well 
after getting to sea. We are obliged to wait for a 
steamer as by Father's being ill we lost our turn; but 
I have just heard that one is engaged to take us down 
river Friday. I have formed some very pleasant ac- 
quaintances here, but have not met any American 
ladies. Captain Knowles and wife, and a Captain 
Smith, wife, and daughter have just arrived. I am 
sorry not to see them. Father is still better, and is now 
eating his dinner of chicken soup and toast bread 
after which he will ride down and see his consignee. 
Do not give yourself any uneasiness, but take good 
care of yourselves. I must now leave you in the hands 
of TTi-m Who ever watches over us, and trust He will 
preserve us all and restore us soon to our loved 
home/* 

Did Mother feel that the best of their voyaging was 
over? When Father returned to the ship that night, 
he had a letter "containing sad news from Freeman," 
their lad who had thought to conquer the dread white 
plague by the hardships of a seaman's life, and who 
was ill at Valencia. But Mother was not one to spend 
the long weeks of their return voyage to Melbourne 
in useless repining, and her Diary shows her alert, 
as ever, to "see what there was to see." They made 
slow progress out to sea, as the weather was hot 
and calm. "It is very tedious to be lying here, 
although we have company near us. To-day we saw 



THE CAPTAINS 253 

what we supposed to be the Ghats Mountains on 
the eastern coast of Hindustan/ 5 And steadily, week 
after week, they nosed their way southward again, 
and on October 26 she could write: "It has been 
really cold this week, about like the weather at home 
this season. I sit up on deck all the morning, and have 
been very busy this week turning my silk dress." It 
was rough weather the last leg of their journey, "the 
ship rolled terribly "; and Mother was none too good a 
sailor. When they hove to at Port Philip Light to 
take on the pilot, they received orders to proceed 
to Sydney to discharge their cargo. And there was a 
letter from his captain, one of their old neighbors at 
home, confirming their worst fears in regard to Free- 
man. He had died at Valencia, and was buried there, 
even as Mother had been praying that another year 
might see them all united at the old home. There was 
no time to be spent in idle lamentation, and as Father 
must go to Melbourne, so would she go also to be near 
him. They landed, rode by stage twenty miles to 
Geelong through "a very dreary country," thence by 
railway to Melbourne where they were disappointed 
not to find letters from home at the consul's, nor was 
their friend Mr. Osborn to be found that day; but 
they breakfasted with him the next morning, when 
Father accomplished his business, and by afternoon 
they were on the wearisome journey back to Geelong 
and Queen's Cliff where the ship was moored. Indomi- 
table Mother writes: "It was a beautiful morning and 
I enjoyed the ride/ 5 She had learned the subtlest use of 
life : to miss none of its beauty, though the heart were 



254 OLD CAPE COD 

breaking. That night, before they sailed for Sydney, 
she wrote the two forlorn children at home a long 
letter, with the high heart of courage, knowing that it 
might be months before they should receive it and the 
first sting of their sorrow be past : a letter full of Chris- 
tian resignation and of comfort. 

And day by day, recording time by latitude and 
longitude at sea, ashore by day and month, she set 
down in the Journal for the interest of their later 
reading, what she did and what she saw. Wilson's 
Point, as they beat round to Sydney in head winds 
and heavy seas, "would be a terrible place to be 
shipwrecked," she thought. And at Sydney she en- 
joyed things as she could, noting the t weather 
there had been no rain to speak of for sixteen months 
living on shipboard, but taking many excursions 
and meeting pleasant people ashore, and remembering 
the sermons at the English church, and the markets, 
and the shops; and again, one afternoon, alone, "I 
went a-cruising to see what I could see" among 
other things, in the Public Gardens, "some beautiful 
plants in the greenhouses. The greatest variety of 
fuchsia I ever saw, and the gardener gave me some 
slips to take home. There were lots of birds and 
animals there, and I saw a kangaroo." And some 
friends took them out to Botany Bay. "It was a terri- 
ble road and dreary country through which we passed, 
but there was a beautiful garden adjoining the hotel 
and I walked on the beach and got a few shells. Saw 
some wild animals, and returned to Sydney at seven 
o'clock. I enjoyed it very much." There is the con- 



THE CAPTAINS 255 

slant note. Delayed in their sailing by storms, they 
had Christmas dinner at the consul's: "a very nice 
dinner consisting of roasted goose, boiled turkey, 
boiled ham, cabbage, string beans, and potatoes/* 
After this mighty meal the company took steamer 
for "a resort for pleasure parties where there is a place 
called the Fairy Bower which is very beautiful. The 
winding way to it is over rocks and through the Bush. 
There is a public house there in front of which is the 
Bay and on either side and at the back are high rocky 
hills. There are lovely shells on the beach. It is a 
very romantic spot." 

On the twenty-sixth, "Boxing Day at Sydney/* 
she writes, they sailed early, and by afternoon "it 
blew very fresh and I was obliged to go to bed, being 
a little seasick." On the eighth, in a fair wind, she re- 
members that it is just a year since they left Boston. 
On the nineteenth they were rounding Cape Leeuwin, 
and after a week of heavy swell and variable winds 
"we took the trades. Very pleasant and fine steady 
trades, which we appreciate/' So through fair weather 
and storms, starlight nights and sultry days, they 
came to Calcutta once more, and the steamer took 
them upstream, and their old friends welcomed 
them. 

And there, incredibly, plucky little Mother, who 
could not have believed that she would not be in the 
world to serve any one of them while they had need of 
her, sickened with the deadly cholera and died. And 
Father, heartsick and alone, is sailing southward once 
more, this time for home. As the pilot takes him down- 



256 OLD CAPE COD 

stream, he is writing the son and daughter at Cape 
Cod. "I am seated here alone in my cabin where your 
mother and I have spent many pleasant hours and 
taken sweet counsel together, with everything around 
me to remind me of her. Here sets her chair, and there 
her trunk and clothes and everything as she left it." 
(We wonder if the " slips " she had taken at Melbourne 
and Sydney are blooming yet.) "Oh, my dear, dear 
children, how much I have to feel and suffer. Your 
mother was thinking much of coming home to you 
again, but her spirit is with those in heaven. She spoke 
much of Nancy and Clanrick before she died, and 
said be sure to give Nancy my watch, and buy one 
for Clanrick and tell him it was his mother's request. 
I hope you will find a home at the Cape somewhere 
till my return. Clanrick, be a good boy and kind to 
your sister; and try to cheer one another up in your 
heavy affliction. I soon expect to discharge the pilot. 
Good-morning, my dear children. God bless you. 
Your own afflicted Father." 

Father seems to have been of no such indomitable 
fibre as Mother. Perhaps for too many decades the 
sea had had its will of him, and for too many timres, 
before this last voyage that had been so beautifully 
companioned, he had suffered the loneliness of long 
months afloat. Yet Father, in his youth, had been 
one of the gayest lads in town; within an hour of his 
arrival from sea, he was in and out of every house 
there, with a joke for the old ladies, and a new story 
for the cap'ns, a song for the girls, and a new style 
for the lads. Then he had taken on a steady pilot in 



THE CAPTAINS 257 

Susan, his wife, and had steered straight through all 
their years together. He adored his children, and 
gave them perhaps more pleasures than he could well 
afford; for somehow, although he was an able captain 
and trader, riches had never come his way. Men said 
he was a free-spender, and ought to have saved. And 
now, in his broken state, after a few weeks with the 
children in the old home among the willows and lilacs, 
he must be off again to earn money for them all, this 
time on a coasting voyage, Boston to "New-Orleens/ 5 
And at sea, with far too much time for reflection, he 
is writing his loved daughter: "I hoped I never should 
be drifting about the ocean again, but here I am, and 
no one but my Heavenly Father knows what my 
destiny is. When I look back on the past two years, 
it seems all a dream: our dear Freeman pining away 
in a foreign land, and longing to get home once more, 
poor boy. And your mother in her last moments per- 
fectly calm and serene, not one murmur or complaint. 
I have tried to bear up the best I could, but it has 
been dreadful hard. Perhaps I do not realize my bless- 
ings, but I do have many I've been restored to 
health better than I ever expected to be, and I have 
two fine children, and can make me a comfortable 
home/' 

Poor tender-hearted Father, struggling to count 
his "blessings." The voyage to "New-Orleens" was 
not one of his most prosperous, he had lost the magic 
touch of success; nor was health as firmly restored as 
he supposed: that old fever at Calcutta, the sorrows 
that followed, had broken more than his spirit, and he 



258 OLD CAPE COD 

returned only in time to die at home happy, at 
the last, to have made that familiar haven. And for- 
tunate beyond many of his fellows. For there was 
a reverse to the old tales of daring and adventure; 
and many a man, long before age should cool the ar- 
dors of his hot-blooded youth, had died in a foreign 
port, or on shipboard; and many a memorial stone 
records that such a one died at Panama or Madras or 
Bassein, at Sourbaya or Batavia or Truxillo, or at 
Aden. And there is the longer list of those "lost at 
sea," when wives and sweethearts waited through 
heartsick months and years for the word that never 
came. Yet those at sea and those ashore found their 
strength in the old faith: "Ye see when the mariner is 
entered his ship to saile on the troublous sea, how he 
is for a while tossed in the billows of the same, but 
yet in hope that he shall come to the quiet haven, he 
beareth in better comfort the perils which he feeleth; 
so am I now toward this sayling: and whatsoever 
stormes I shall feele, yet shortly after shall my ship 
be in the haven, as I doubt not thereof by the grace 
of God, desiring you to helpe me with your prayers 
to the same effect/* 



CHAPTER X 
THE COUNTY 

I 

THE "retired" sea-captain, if he had been too free- 
handed to grow rich, or had missed his chance of 
success through practising small shrewdnesses rather 
than large, often earned his living ashore as post- 
master, or "deepo-master," or he ran the tavern, or 
the village store that supplied the inhabitants with 
any obtainable commodity. In any case, as gentleman 
farmer or one of lower social rank, he fitted easily 
into the life at home which, in comparison with that 
of an inland town, was cosmopolitan by reason of 
constant interchange with countries beyond the sea. 
Men had a wider outlook: though they might never 
"go to Boston," which was the minimum adven- 
ture of the community, they were familiar with far 
scenes discussed of an evening among the frequenters 
of post-office or store. And if all sailors did not be- 
come captains, though the contrary may seem to us 
to have been the fact, it was the exception when an 
able-bodied male had not gone at least one "voyage 
to sea." The normal Cape Cod boy looked upon the 
ocean as his natural theatre of action. If he could 
wheedle his mother into consent, he was off at the 
tender age of ten, or as soon thereafter as might be, 
to serve as cabin boy with their neighbor the cap 'n. 



260 OLD CAPE COD 

It is even said of one child that by the time he had 
reached his tenth birthday "he was old enough not 
to be seasick, not to cry during a storm, and to be of 
some use about a ship/' From the galley he might be 
promoted to the fo'c's'le; from there, if luck and 
temper served, to the quarter-deck. A captain's letter 
to his little daughter tells us something of the relation 
between captain and crew. Discipline was strict, but 
"the old man" did not forget that they were all 
neighbors at home. "We have plenty of music in the 
forecastle/' he writes, "but I wish I had you all with 
me and the seraphine and then we could have a good 
sing. There is a violin-player and one of the best 
players on the accordion I ever heard, and they go 
it some evenings, I tell you, and have a regular good 
dance. They have their balls about twice a week, and 
I can hear them calling off their cotillion and having 
a merry time of it. I wish you could see them going it 
for awhile. Daniel plays the bones and a young man 
from Barnstable is the musician. I like my crew very 
much so far and hope they will continue the voyage 
and improve/ 5 

As cabin boy, forem'st hand, able seaman, mate, 
or captain, on merchant vessel or fisherman, every 
man Jack in the village was pretty sure to have had 
his taste of the sea, and thereby was equipped to con- 
tribute his story to the common fund of anecdote. 
With truth he could say "I am a part of all that I 
have met/' And whether they had followed the sea 
for one year or forty, or vicariously through the ex- 
perience of others, each of them had a tang of "the 



THE COUNTY 261 

old salt 55 ; and their home was set in the ocean as surely 
as if Cape Cod were another Saint Helena breaking 
the long Atlantic rollers that come sweeping down the 
world. Many a time, indeed, it must have seemed to 
swing to their stories like the deck of a ship, and the 
dry land under foot to be stable only because one was 
braced to its motion. For most of the men, all the 
sea ways about the world were as familiar as the 
village road around the ponds. Daniel Webster once 
wrote some friends in Dennis of a trial in their district 
when question arose as to the entrance of the harbor 
of Owhyhee: "The counsel for the opposite party 
proposed to call witnesses to give information to the 
jury. I at once saw a smile which I thought I under- 
stood, and suggested to the judge that very probably 
some of my jury had seen the entrance themselves. 
Upon which seven out of the twelve arose and said 
they were quite familiarly acquainted with it, having 
seen it often." 

Every boy had some grounding in the common 
branches of study at the schools which his Pilgrim 
ancestors had been at pains to establish; but given 
the three R's, his education was expanded in the 
larger school of personal adventure. Rich gives a 
quick biography typical of the Truro fisherman: 
"Till ten in summer a barefoot boy, tough, wide- 
awake hoes, clams, fishes, swims, goes to the red 
schoolhouse taught by the village schoolmann. After 
ten, on board a fishing vessel cooking for nine or ten 
men; at thirteen a hand; goes to the same school- 
house three months or less every winter till seventeen 



OLD CAPE COD 

or eighteen; graduates. At twenty-one marries; goes 
skipper; twenty-five buys a vessel and builds a house, 
or has been looking around the world to make a 
change. Whatever may be the experiences of after 
life, the early history of Cape Cod boys could be 
summed substantially as stated." 

This matter of an elementary education, in the 
early days, was frequently undertaken by men whose 
work was cut out for them to keep their own knowl- 
edge a little in advance of their scholars. There was 
Mr. Hawes, schoolmaster of Yarmouth in the later 
years of the eighteenth century, who gloried in the 
fact that 

"The little learning I iiave gained, 
Was most from simple nature drained." 

He Had worked on the farm and managed his own 
schooling when the only textbooks were the Bible and 
Catechism. "When the Spelling Book was first in- 
troduced," he remarks dryly, "the good old ladies ap- 
peared to fear that religion would be banished from 
the world." Hawes, however, undertook the pursuit 
of the higher learning, and once had a sum set him in 
the "Single Rule of Three" that cost Hrn three days* 
work in the solving of it. "I went often to the woods 
and gathered pine knots for candles," he remembers. 
"At this time I lived with my aged grandfather, who 
had a liberal education, but was in low circumstances, 
and I could learn more in his chimney-corner with my 
pine candle, in one evening, than I could at school in a 
week." Discipline was administered by means of an 



THE COUNTY 263 

apple-tree branch, and "as soon as the master re- 
tired from school, every instrument of correction or 
torture would by the scholars be destroyed." In the 
Bible class, "while each scholar would mention the 
number and read one verse," the master would be 
making pens, and the other children most likely 
"playing pins, or matching coppers." Hawes, at the 
age of seventeen, had "advanced in Arithmetic about 
as far as Square and Cube Root," and by his own 
industry "gained some knowledge of Navigation," 
when the Revolution interrupted his studies, and, 
promptly enlisting, he served in the land force for 
three years, and then took to the sea. He sailed in 
no less than five vessels that were captured, but re- 
marks that he was never prisoner more than two 
months running; and at the close of the Revolution 
he felt qualified to set up as schoolmaster ashore. 
His account probably gives an accurate picture of the 
public education of the day. "I commenced teaching 
school in Yarmouth," he writes, "at seven dollars 
per month, and boarded myself, which was then about 
equal to seaman's wages in Boston; and I occasionally 
taught town and private schools in Barnstable and 
Yarmouth, when not at sea. The highest wages I ever 
had was thirty-five dollars per month; and the last 
school I taught was in Barnstable, and was then in 
my sixtieth year. Now I will state my own method of 
school teaching with from sixty to ninety pupils, viz: 
The first and last hours were generally spent in read- 
ing, the middle hours in writing. Those in arithmetic 
would read with the others when they pleased. Hav- 



264 OLD CAPE COD 

ing one class In school, every scholar, at my word 
"Next/ would arise and read in his seat, till I pro- 
nounced the word 'Next,' and I often stopped him in 
the middle of a verse. After reading around, I would 
order another book, more proper for the scholars 
present, as before, and then in four or five different 
books till the hour expired. Then I gave out the 
copies and made as many mend their pens as could. 
If they had no ink-stands, which was the case with 
many, I would send one after shells, and put cot- 
ton therein. The ink I found and charged it to the 
school. I likewise set at auction who would make the 
fire cheapest, say for one month, which would go at 
about one cent a day. While they were writing in the 
second form, I would hear the little ones read alone, 
who could not read in classes. Seventeen was the 
greatest number I think I ever had of them. When 
school was about half done one scholar was sent for a 
bucket of water," and then, no doubt from one dip- 
per, did they all, girls first, then boys, unhygienically 
drink. "Those in Arithmetic having books of differ- 
ent authors, got their own sums, wrote off their own 
rules, &c. If they wanted to make inquiries concern- 
ing questions/ 3 Mr. Hawes goes on to say, "and the 
scholar next him could show him, I would request him 
to; if not, if I had time, I would explain the principles 
by which the sum was to be done. If he then met with 
difficulty, I directed him to take it home, and study 
late at night to have his answer in the morning. When 
I dismissed the school I would examine each one's 
writing book. ... I was too much in favor of the 



THE COUNTY 265 

Friends 5 principles to require any bowing, and left 
that discretionary with each scholar.'* 

In schools as rudimentary as this were trained the 
men whose energy was to accomplish the greatest 
prosperity of the Cape. A majority of the boys were 
too busily employed in helping to extract the family 
livelihood from the soil and the sea to be allowed 
studies beyond those useful for such a purpose; yet 
almost immediately the free schools were supple- 
mented, at Yarmouth and Sandwich and Barnstable, 
by seminaries and academies, where Greek, Latin, 
French, and the higher mathematics were taught. In 
1840 the Truro Academy was founded under the di- 
rectorship of a wise teacher who raised the standard 
of education in all the towns about. And there was 
the Pine Grove Seminary, conducted by Mr. Sidney 
Brooks at Harwich, and beloved of its scholars: for 
Mr. Brooks not only encouraged learning, but was a 
promoter of innocent pleasure. His pupils were to re- 
member Saturday excursions to Long Pond, sailing 
there in summer and ice-boating in winter; and Mr. 
Brooks permitted tableaux and dancing in the hall, 
even were there a brisk revival in progress at the 
meeting-house across the way. The pupils of Mr. 
Smith, of Brewster, who died in 1842, remember that 
he was "successful in making the dullest learn/' and 
also recall that "Ferula disciplines sceptrum erat." 

The elegancies of the Early Victorian era 
French, deportment, fine needlework, sewing and 
embroidery, bead and shell work, the making of wax 
flowers, sketching in pencil and watercolors were 



266 OLD CAPE COD 

taught the young ladies by private instruction. Their 
culture was continued in the Lyceum and Female 
Reading Society. Anne C. Lynch and Martin Tupper 
were the fashion; and they read largely literature 
commended in the "Lady's Book/* to which every 
household with any pretension to gentility sub- 
scribed. Mr. Godey averred that his magazine should 
be "a shrine for the offerings of those who wish to 
promote the mental, moral, and religious improve- 
ment of woman. For female genius it is the appropri- 
ate sphere. It will contain a new and elegant engrav- 
ing in every number also music and patterns for 
ladies* muslin work and other embellishments." The 
Cape Cod female mind took on with some readiness 
this shining veneer, but its native vigor remained un- 
impaired; and women conducted their domestic af- 
fairs, or their social amenities at home and in foreign 
ports, as became the wives of their sailor husbands. 
At Barnstable and thereabouts domestic service was 
supplied sometimes by the village girls, sometimes 
by the Mashpee Indians. An old lady remembers her 
nurse Dinah, a tall, handsome creature belonging to 
the clan of "Judge" Greenough, who governed his 
people with wisdom and good sense; and she recalls 
a story of the days when the mail arrived by post- 
rider and an old squaw held up the embarrassed car- 
rier to beg a ride. He permitted her to mount, but, 
putting his horse to the canter, hoped to shake her off 
before he reached the town. To no end : she clung like 
a leech, and called out cheerily, "That's right, massa. 
Go it! When I ride I love to ride!" It is easy to be 



THE COUNTY 267 

diverted by such anecdotes. With all their seeming 
primness, the people had a rollicking humor, of which 
countenances hidden in coal-scuttle bonnets and chins 
rigid in portentous stocks were no index. 

Manners were at their finest and best, and the ex- 
pression of them often bears a charming simplicity 
of thought if not of word. Such is Mr. Freeman's 
memory of an old lady who had been kind to him. In 
a footnote of his history he corrects a deplorable error 
in the text: "We were led, by intelligence communi- 
cated in good faith by one whose relations to the per- 
son gave to his announcement the assurance of au- 
thority, to state that a venerable and most estimable 
lady was deceased. We are grateful that it is an error. 
Long may that excellent woman survive, the admira- 
tion of her friends. We have remembered her with 
respect ever since the day she loaned to us, then a 
little boy, a beautifully illustrated Natural History, 
kindly proffered with commendations and other en- 
couraging words; and had we the skill of a limner, we 
could now portray those features marked with in- 
tellectuality and benevolence when, with attaching 
manners, she made her little friend so happy/' Free- 
man says elsewhere: "If the manners of the age were 
simple, they were not rough; nor was the rusticity of 
the less influential devoid of that polish which the 
few who gave tone to society, unassuming and unen- 
vied, diffused among the masses." 

All through the clipper-ship era, the importance of 
the Cape steadily grew. She built ships at her own 
wharves and docked them there, and in the eighteen- 



268 OLD CAPE COD 

forties she even had her own custom-house at Barn- 
stable, although it cleared but one ship, and the 
building was turned into a town hall. Wharves, har- 
bor improvements, lighthouses were built where they 
were most needed. In 1830 the Union Wharf was 
built at Pamet Harbor by the toil of the shareholders 
in the enterprise, each of whom held but one share 
and each of whom must wheel his proportion of sand 
to fill the bulkheads. A committee was appointed to 
supervise the work and see that there was no shirking; 
and Rich tells us that some of the younger members 
of the company were "willing to work harder than 
wheeling sand" to invite the charge of shirking and 
fasten that charge upon some man "who felt that 
neglecting his duty was nearly a crime." At any price 
they must have their fun, and lampooned certain 
bumptious members of the company in doggerel that 
followed them to their grave. In 1825 a flint-glass 
factory that became famous for its beautiful output 
was founded at Sandwich "glass-works to improve 
its sand," is Thoreau's gibe. The salt-works flourished, 
there were several cotton and woollen mills, banks 
and insurance companies and newspapers were estab- 
lished. But the Civil War put an end to this expansion : 
vessels that were destroyed then or had rotted at 
the wharves through disuse were never replaced; and 
in any event the war had but given the coup de grace 
to trade by sailing ships that the development of 
steam and rails was sure to weaken. Cape Cod 
soldiers who had followed the sea returned from the 
war to find their business gone, and many energetic 



THE COUNTY 269 

men had to look elsewhere for careers. They found 
them; and there is hardly a great city in the country 
that does not owe something of its prosperity to these 
men and their children. It is interesting that to-day 
the old determination to succeed in the circumstances 
offered is reviving, and men are beginning to see that 
they need not travel far afield to make a living. There 
is one of the best intensive farms in the State at Truro; 
a model farm of twelve thousand acres is being de- 
veloped at the other extremity of the Cape; there is a 
great duck-raising farm, and asparagus farms at East- 
ham. And why should not sheep-raising be revived 
on the moors of Truro, and Eastham become a gran- 
ary once more? 

Those men who remained at home after the Civil 
War became again, for the most part, farmers and 
fishermen, and the humble native cranberry was to 
do as much for their prosperity as had the salt-works 
for their fathers. Back in 1677 the Massachusetts col- 
onists who had taken it upon themselves to coin the 
"pine-tree shillings," sought to appease the displeas- 
ure of King Charles by sending him, with two hogs- 
heads of samp and three thousand codfish, ten bar- 
rels of cranberries. But it was not until 1816 that their 
cultivation was seriously undertaken. Then Henry 
Hall, of Dennis, first succeeded with his artificial 
"swamp"; four men of Harwich closely followed, 
and the business grew until thousands of acres were 
developed, and, crowded on the Cape, it worked out 
to larger scope in Plymouth County. The picture of 
these swamps, flat as a floor, intersected by drainage 



270 OLD CAPE COD 

.ditches, surrounded usually by wild hedges that teem 
with color, is one of the most familiar to the Cape. In 
winter, when they are often flooded, they add count- 
less little lakes to the number summer gives us; or 
their vines offer the smooth red of eastern looms to 
brighten the pale northern scene until spring turns 
them green once more. A new swamp shows gleaming 
sand through the regular planting of the vines; on 
one that "bears," crimson berries, in early autumn, 
hang thick on the glossy dark-green runnels. And 
then the swamps axe charming centres of activity: 
women in bright sunbonnets, men in soft shirts and 
caps, move swiftly on their knees up the roped-off 
aisles as they scoop the berries into shining tin 
measures, and a good picker earns a considerable 
number of dollars in the day. There is the sound of 
talk and laughter, and the patter of berries as they 
are "screened 55 of refuse and swept into barrels. The 
sun brings out the last tint of color, the atmosphere 
is like a crystal goblet of heady wine: it is the homely 
festa of the Cape at its most beautiful season of the 
year. 

II 

FROM the beginning of the nineteenth century the 
towns were drawn into increasingly dose connec- 
tion with the larger world. The mails came to them 
first a-horseback, then by stage, then by the railway 
which gradually nosed its way to the tip of the Cape. 
Telegraph followed railway, and then, until the late 
war, the great Marconi station and the cable talked 




THE MEADOWS 



THE COUNTY 271 

with countries oversea. Freeman reflects upon the 
blessings of rapid transportation in his day when "we 
are now, in 1859, in more intimate and close contact 
with Berkshire and even Maine, in fact with New 
York and Pennsylvania, than the Cape was with 
Plymouth during all the time that it remained the seat 
of justice. It is easier from the extremest town on the 
Cape now to visit Boston and return, than it was 
once to perform the necessary act of domestic prep- 
aration by carrying a grist from Sandwich to Ply- 
mouth to be ground. Nor have we forgotten that im- 
portant character, the post-rider, who took the entire 
mail in his saddle-bags (and lean they were too) and 
occupied the week in going down the Cape and re- 
turning. The clock could not better indicate the hour 
of 5 P.M., than did the regular appearance of Mr. 
Terry on his slow, but sure and well-fed horse (the 
horses of the Friends are always well kept and sleek, 
and possibly their capacity for swiftness of locomo- 
tion was never put to the test) with his diminutive 
saddle-bags that seemed to challenge the observation 
of every one touching the question of their entire 
emptiness, every Friday afternoon. The facilities now 
afforded by railroads, stage-coaches, cheap postage, 
&c., contrast strangely with former times." 

Mr. Swift, in his "Old Yarmouth," tells us some- 
thing of those facilities: "The all-day's journey from 
Boston to the Cape is remembered with recollections 
of pleasure, in spite of its inconvenience and weari- 
some length. Starting at early dawn, and the parties 
made up of persons of all stations and degrees of 



272 OLD CAPE COD 

social life, the stage coach was a levelling and demo- 
cratic institution. The numerous stopping places, 
along the route, gave ample opportunity for the ex- 
change of news, opinions, and to partake of the good 
cheer of the various taverns/ 5 The liquid portion of 
that "good cheer," by the way, was only too liberally 
distributed, and in 1817 no less than seventeen re- 
tailers were privileged to quench the thirst of northern 
Yarmouth. Such abuse led to reform; and a temper- 
ance society was founded whose pledge was not too 
exacting: no member, "except in case of sickness, 
shall drink any distilled spirit or wine, in any house 
in town except . . . the one in which he resides." And 
the town voted "not to approbate a retailer, but to 
approbate one taverner for the accommodation of 
travellers/* 

Thoreau, on his famous journey to the Cape, when 
inclement weather forced him to coach between 
Sandwich and Orleans, was pleased not at all in re- 
spect of the utilities of the towns, but bears testi- 
mony, as a philosopher, to the extenuating attributes 
of their inhabitants. The opinion has been quoted 
often, and is worth quoting again: "I was struck by 
the pleasant equality which reigned among the stage 
company, and their broad and invulnerable good hu- 
mor. They were what is called free and easy, and met 
one another to advantage, as men who had, at length, 
learned how to live. They appeared to know each other 
when they were strangers, they were so simple and 
downright. They were well met, in an unusual sense, 
that is, they met as well as they could meet, and did not 



THE COUNTY 273 

seem to be troubled with any impediment. They were 
not afraid nor ashamed of one another, but were con- 
tented to make just such a company as the ingredients 
allowed. It was evident that the same foolish respect 
was not here claimed, for mere wealth and station, 
that is in many parts of New England; yet some of 
them were the * first people/ as they were called, of the 
various towns through which we passed. Retired sea- 
captains, in easy circumstances, who talked of farm- 
ing as sea-captains are wont; an erect, respectable 
and trustworthy-looking man, in his wrapper, some 
of the salt of the earth, who had formerly been the 
salt of the sea; or a more courtly gentleman, who, 
perchance, had been a representative to the General 
Court in his day; or a broad, red-faced, Cape Cod 
man, who h^d seen too many storms to be easily irri- 
tated. " In short, Thoreau's Cape-Codders were cos- 
mopolitan creatures, men of the world that he was 
so ready to despise. 

Until the railway was continued "down the Cape,'* 
travellers there were far more likely to make their 
journeys to and from Boston by the packets than by 
stage. "For fifty years," writes Swift, "the arrival 
and departure of the packets was the important topic 
of North side intelligence, which was communicated 
promptly to the dwellers on the South side, that they 
might govern themselves thereby in arranging their 
business or their travels." There are pretty stories of 
voyages on the packets: of the little girl, wide-eyed 
with expectation, in big bonnet and mitts, and a 
flowered bandbox for luggage, who is entrusted to the 



274 OLD CAPE COD 

captain for safe delivery into the hands of her kinsmen 
in Boston. One old lady, whose histrionic sense de- 
veloped early, remembered that once when she was 
visiting Boston as a child there was a smallpox epi- 
demic. "I couldn't help laughing,". said she, "to 
think if I had got it and died, how grand it would have 
been to be brought home by the packet, me on board 
sailing up the harbor with colors half-mast." There 
were young ladies setting out for their finishing-school 
in the metropolis. And on any trip there was sure 
to be a deep-water captain starting out to " join his 
ship" at Boston or New York for the longer voyage 
overseas; beside him, perhaps, his wife companioning 
him as far as she might, and when he had sailed re- 
turning to the children and the three years on the 
farm without him. Then, when his ship had been 
spoken by a faster sailer, and was due to "arrive," 
she would go up to the city and wait sometimes 
through anxious weeks until it was sighted down the 
harbor. Nor were they likely to be idle weeks. "I am 
so busy I do not know how to stop to write except it 
is absolutely necessary," she might write to the little 
flock at home. "It is a great misfortune to have such 
a busy mother, but you must make the best of it. I 
am improving every moment in sewing, looking for- 
ward to September when father *s home for my lei- 
sure." And, joy to read, she has decided to let them 
come to town. "You must come by packet, and you 
better not make any visits except to grandmother 
as you will need all your time to prepare. Susan must 
have all her petticoats fresh starched; Joseph must get 



THE COUNTY 275 

Bis whitewashing done and his garden in perfect order. 
We shall want lots of potatoes if father is at home 
next winter. How does my flower garden flourish? Fix 
up the pigstye as I want it ready when I get home. 
Fasten the gates strong so the cattle cannot get in, 
and see to the water fence. Susan need not fetch a 
bonnet-box unless it rains when she goes to the packet. 
Hang your bonnet up on board and wear your sun- 
bonnet. Put the things which you will need to put on 
when you get here in the leather bag. Remember if it 
is evening, stay on board all night unless there is 
some one on board you know to. go with you. You may 
think you know the way, but there have been a great 
many changes since you were here, and the city looks 
very different in the evening to what it does in the 
daytime." There are portraits of Susan and Joseph 
taken on this momentous visit: elusive daguerro types 
set in elaborately worked gilt frames. Joseph, in 
roundabout and Eton collar, and with the determined 
mien befitting a future master of ships, is seated by 
a table ornately covered. The other half of the old 
stamped-leather case, that may be securely clasped 
by a brass hook, is occupied by Susan: Susan shy, yet 
determined, too, clutching at the same table, her 
wool dress cut for the display of childish collar- 
bones, her thin little arms twitched slightly akimbo 
by their short tight sleeves; but her necklace is 
picked out with gold, her cheeks with pink, and 
Susan's wide-set eyes under the primly parted hair 
look at you straight, undaunted by the great world. 
The captains of these packets that ran out of every 



276 OLD CAPE COD 

town on the north shore of the Cape had their fun 
racing one another from port to port; it is probable 
some money was lost or won on the results. Barnsta- 
ble, even, produced a ballad to immortalize some of 
the contestants: 

"The Commodore Hull she sails so dull 
She makes her crew look sour; 
The Eagle Flight she is out of sight 
In less than half an hour, 
But the bold old Emerald takes delight 
To beat the Commodore and the Flight." 

Other packets had the romantic names of Winged 
Hunter and Leading Wind; the Sarah of Brewster 
was as familiar to her people as "old Mis' Paine" or 
"Squire Freeman." Truro had the Young Tell, the 
Post Boy and the Modena. The Post Boy may be said 
to have been queen of the bay, luxuriously fitted out 
in mahogany and silk draperies, and with a captain 
who had the reputation of knowing the way to Boston 
in the darkest night, and being able to keep his pas- 
sengers good-natured in a head wind. Passengers by 
the Post Boy knew the quality of their company, and 
that the run to Boston could never be so long as to 
exhaust the fund of stories. "Each told his experience, 
or listened with interest or pleasure to the rest, and 
all sought with unaffected goodnature to please and 
profit." 

ni 

No picture of the Cape could be complete without 
some accent upon its men of the learned professions. 



THE COUNTY 277 

Teacher, doctor, parson, and lawyer might or might 
not have shared the universal experience of the sea: 
it depended, usually, upon whether they were im- 
portations or native products. But certainly the mem- 
ory of them adds another note to the richness of the 
general hue. We have met good Deacon Hawes, the 
Yarmouth schoolmaster, and the more elegant Sid- 
ney Brooks, of Harwich: they exemplify, perhaps, the 
two types of early teachers. Young collegians, work- 
ing their way through the university, were for a later 
generation; and very well, for the most part, did they 
train the boys and girls of the district schools. They 
were absurdly young, some of them lads not yet in 
their twenties; but they imparted knowledge with 
the same clear-minded determination with which they 
were pursuing their own education. Schools of the 
best quality that offered, the people of any time were 
bound to have: Truro, as early as 1716, placed school- 
master before politician. They engaged Mr. Samuel 
Spear "for the entire year" for the consideration that 
he should receive forty pounds salary and "board 
himself*'; then, "determined to save in some way 
what they were compelled to spend for schools," 
they voted to send no representative to the General 
Court, "because we are not obliged by law to send 
one, and because the Court has rated us so high that 
we are not able to pay one for going." Later Mr. 
Spear served Provincetown as minister. 

Of the early physicians Doctor Abner Hersey, of 
Barnstable, was, perhaps, the most famous. He came 
there from Hingham in 1769 to study medicine with 



278 OLD CAPE COD 

a brother, who, however, died within the year of his 
arrival. Very likely the general knowledge he had 
picked up in that short association, supplemented by 
his native judgment and common sense, his keen ob- 
servation and power of correct deduction, served his 
patients as well as would a more exact training in 
the science of the day. He became the leading physi- 
cian of the Cape, and on his regular circuit through 
the towns, the sick were brought for his healing to 
every crossroads and centre. He was brusque and un- 
certain in temper, and was, withal, eccentric. Free- 
man judges him "subject to hypochondriac affec- 
tions." "He rejected alike animal food and alcoholic 
stimulants; his meals were fruit, milk, and vegetables. 
Contemning the follies of fashion, his garments were 
peculiar to himself his overcoat to protect him in 
travel was made of seven calfskins, lined with flannel." 
As a further precaution against the searching winter 
winds his chaise was entirely enclosed with leather 
curtains, pierced by two loopholes for his eyes and the 
reins. There is evidence that his bed was heaped high 
with "milled" blankets which he manipulated, up 
or down, in accord with the temperature. He was 
just, benevolent, shrewd, and his name lived after him. 
By his will he left five hundred pounds to Harvard 
University to endow a chair of anatomy and surgery; 
and after his wife's death the residue of his estate was 
to be held for the thirteen Congregational parishes of 
the county, the income distributed in due proportion 
to the size of his practice therein. And there opened 
the door of temptation to the devout: for this sum, 



THE COUNTY 279 

amounting to some four thousand pounds, was to be 
managed by the deacons and the income expended 
for such sound doctrinal books as Dodridge on the 
" Rise and Progress of the Christian Religion," and 
Evans on "The Christian Temper." But the deacons 
made such good cheer at their annual meetings, which 
held over sometimes for two or three days at the com- 
fortable tavern of Mrs. Lydia Sturgis in Barnstable, 
that little of the income was left for the purchase of 
godly literature. The matter became something of a 
scandal, and after the lapse of thirty years the court 
settled the estate and distributed the principal among 
the several parishes. 

Doctor James Thacher, who studied with Hersey 
and served as a surgeon in the Revolution, died, in 
1844, at the age of ninety. Doctor Leonard, of Sand- 
wich, born in 1763 and practising for sixty years, had 
the enviable reputation of being patient with chronic 
invalids, prompt in epidemics or "occasional 35 dis- 
eases in short, a good Christian and a good doctor. 
He was succeeded by his son, who links up the pro- 
fession, in the memory of the living with Doctor 
Gould, of Brewster. Vast, kindly, skilful, sympathetic 
with his patients to his own hurt, rather silent, who 
can forget him on his errands of mercy as he drove 
from house to house or town to town in the "sulky" 
that was so exact a fit for his bulk the wonder was he 
must not always carry it upon his back as the snail 
his shell. It was an ordeal then for a child to be stood 
on a chair and have that Jovine ear applied to back 
and chest in lieu of a stethoscope. "Have you a 



280 OLD CAPE COD 

phial?" inquired Jove of the parent after one such 
test. Later a terrified infant was abstracted from the 
depths of a broom-cupboard. "O mother, mother, 
what is a phial?' 5 cried the victim of his fears. 

The early parsons were often, as we have seen, of a 
fine type English university men usually, who had 
travelled far in their quest of freedom. They were 
perforce, in the new country, farmers as well as clergy- 
men, and one of them, the Reverend John A very, 
of Truro, practised, in addition, the arts of doctor, 
lawyer, and smith. It is written of him that he "man- 
ifested great tenderness for the sick, and his people 
very seriously felt their loss in his death." He came 
to them in 1711, and lived active, beneficent years 
among them until his death in 1754. These Cape 
pastorates frequently covered a great span of years. 
In its first century the West Parish of Barnstable had 
but two ministers. In 1828 died the Reverend Timo- 
thy Alden, of Yarmouth, after a tenure of fifty-nine 
years. Alden was more truly of the soil than many of 
his brethren, as he was in direct line from John of the 
Mayflower. He was a man of wit in the choice of his 
texts: "Where no wood is, there the fire goeth ouj>" 
brought forth on the Monday his stipulated firewood 
that had been lacking; and to a critic he gave answer 
on the following Sabbath: "The word preached did 
not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them 
that heard it." Mr. Freeman remembers that Alden 
was the last to wear the Revolutionary costume. As 
late as 1824 he saw him at an ordination: "his an- 
tique wig conspicuous, in small clothes, with knee and 



THE COUNTY 381 

shoe buckles, and three-cornered hat lying nearby 
objects of interest to the young." "He sat there as 
sometimes stands a solitary, aged oak, surrounded 
by the younger growth of a later period. It was to us 
the last exhibition of the great wigs and cocked hats; 
it left also impressions of a bygone age long to be re- 
membered." 

The pastorates of Mr. Avery, Mr. Upham, and Mr. 
Damon, of Truro, covered one hundred and eighteen 
years. It was Mr. Upham who rebated fifty pounds of 
his salary during the hard times of the Revolution, 
and gave further evidence of public spirit by travel- 
ling to Boston to aid in adjusting "the prices of the 
necessities of life." His people were ready to raise one 
hundred dollars for his expenses. Mr. Upham "left 
behind him a poem in manuscript, the subject of 
which was taken from the Book of Job. He was ever 
attentive to the real good of his people, and exerted 
himself with zeal and fidelity in their service." The 
Reverend Jude Damon was ordained in 1786, and 
some notion of the festivity may be gathered from 
the fact that Captain Joshua Atkins was voted forty 
dollars (Spanish Milled) to defray the expense of en- 
tertaining the council. Mr. Damon was voted two hun- 
dred pounds "settlement," and, annually, seventy- 
five pounds specie, the use of the parsonage, fifteen 
cords of oak wood, three of pine, and five tons of hay 
delivered at his door. And Mr. Damon's comments 
upon certain of his parishioners, deceased, are pre- 
served for our pleasure in his private memoranda. One 
Mary Treat, dead at ninety-five, "came from Eng- 



282 OLD CAPE GOD 

land at tlie age of fourteen, and was a person of fine 
mind and robust constitution. She gave me a tolera- 
ble account of London and Westminster bridges, and 
likewise observed that the distance from Dover to 
Calais was so small that in a very clear day linen 
might be seen from one place to another.'' Samuel 
Small was " a pious and good man whose great desire 
was to be prepared for another and better world and 
to have an easy passage out of this." Of the Widow 
Atkins her "usefulness and activity in sickness and 
midwifery will be remembered, and her memory will 
be embalmed with a grateful perfume in the minds of 
all who were within the circle of her acquaintance." 
Another "had a taste for reading both sacred and 
profane history." Another, of enterprising spirit, was 
"greatly prospered in his secular affairs, tender- 
hearted to the poor." Vivid little portraits flash out 
from his page: the husband, "tender and affectionate, 
as a father distinguished for his talent of governing 
his children, tempering indulgence with prudence; 
as a neighbor pleasant and obliging, as a magistrate 
he was a peace-maker, as a deacon of the church he 
magnified his office. He came to his grave in full age, 
like a shock of corn cometh he in season." Mr. Da- 
mon himself was beloved for his tolerance and sweet 
spirit: of a welcome guest one could say no more than 
"I would as soon see Mr. Damon." But his memo- 
randa reveal that Mr, Damon had a keen eye. Of one 
female parishioner who in her last illness "frequently 
expressed her desire to be with her Redeemer," he 
remarks, "It is to be hoped she was as really pious as 



THE COUNTY 283 

she seemed." And of one deceased "professor" he 
wrote that he "was possessed of good abilities and 
powers of mind. These were, however, much eclipsed 
by his selfish spirit and avaricious disposition/' To 
Mr. Damon's cure belonged a local astronomer, un- 
lettered and untaught, a dreamer, who loved the 
stars. He knew them all and called them by name, 
and, meeting with scant sympathy in his star-gaz- 
ing, scorned not the humblest disciple. "I swear," he 
had been known to exclaim, "half the stars might go 
out of the sky, and nobody here would know it, if 
it was n't for me and Aunt Achsah." 

The pastorates of Mr. Dunster, Mr. Stone, and Mr. 
Simpkins in the North Parish of Harwich included 
its transfer to Brewster, and covered a span of one 
hundred and thirty-one years. Mr. Dunster married 
Reliance, daughter of Governor Hinckley, who is said 
to have been baptized on the day of the memorable 
"swamp fight" that ended King Philip's War, and 
received her name in "token of firm reliance in Di- 
vine Power" held by her mother for the safety of the 
father who was fighting that day. Mr. Stone, in 1730, 
inveighs against "a sad failing in family government 
a wicked practice of young people in their court- 
ships which I have borne my public testimony 
against" an allusion, no doubt, to the ancient be- 
trothal custom of "sitting-up." There are interesting 
cases of parish discipline recorded. In Mr. Dunster's 
time, "the church met to hear a charge examined 
against a sister, brought by another sister in the 
church, the pushing her out of a pew, and hunching 



284 OLD CAPE COD 

another in time of divine service in the meeting- 
house." And as late as 1820 a committee was ap- 
pointed "to keep the meeting-house clear of dogs, 
and to kill them if their owners will not keep them 
out 5 '; boys, likewise, the committee were to "take 
care of and keep them still in time of meeting." No 
light task, we may guess, where the boys were segre- 
gated in a balcony apart as if for the special incite- 
ment of mischief; nor were boys the only ones who 
were irked by those long services. It was the sexton's 
duty to turn the glass at the beginning of the sermon, 
which must be ended with the sand, and Freeman 
remembers the "early preparation for a determined 
stampede from the meeting-house the moment that 
the benediction was pronounced. Coats were buttoned, 
canes and hats were taken in hand, pew-doors were 
unbuttoned, and diligent and full preparation was 
made for a general rush to ensue as soon as the closing 
Amen should begin to be articulated by the minister. 
And such a babel of tongues and noisy scattering 
of devout worshippers as followed was memorable." 
Nor is it remarkable that men should have welcomed 
the Amen as a blessed release when pews must have 
been stools of penance for a full-bodied sailor, or for 
a child whose short legs must dangle unsupported, so 
narrow was the seat, so hard and straight did the 
back rise therefrom. Mr. Freeman recalls other points 
of the service, that of the choir "tuning their voices 
often with the aid of the bass viol and sometimes 
violin, during the reading of the psalm," and the 
slamming of the hinged seats of the pews when the 



THE COUNTY 285 

congregation rose for the prayer. It would Have been 
papistical then to kneel in the house of God, and a 
man addressed his Maker stoutly upon his feet; the 
monotony of the service was further varied, when 
the last hymn was given out, by standing with backs 
to the parson as if, his contribution duly delivered, 
full criticism might be turned upon the choir, 

Mr. Simpkins steered Brewster through the 
troubled times of the Embargo War, and aided with 
his intercession the deliberations of the town as 
to paying war tribute to the British. Grandmothers 
of not many years ago could tell stories of Parson 
Simpkins, a stately gentleman for whom the best 
New England rum was kept on the sideboard to cheer 
his parochial calls. But the parson, on such visits, was 
not infrequently the herald of disaster: for when a 
ship arrived with captain or seaman missing, drowned 
or dead in some foreign port, the minister was first 
notified, and even if his call were only for pleasure, 
the wife or mother who saw him coming would have a 
pang of dread, and the neighbors say: "There goes 
Mr. Simpkins bad news for some one." 

One of the last of these long cures, running through 
thirty-five years, was that of the Reverend Thomas 
Dawes, worthy successor of his prototypes, a fine, 
scholarly gentleman of the old school. The rounded 
periods of his sermons were sometimes applied to the 
case of his parishioners with a directness that offended 
sensitive ears, but is valued rightly in the stock-in- 
trade of many an urban preacher of to-day. "We of 
Brewster" he would roll out with melodious empha- 



286 OLD CAPE COD 

sis. His reading of hymn and Scriptures was a remem- 
brance to be treasured, Ms presence in the pulpit a 
benediction, and who that had seen him there could 
forget the shining glory of his face as he "talked with 
God/' For the children of his parish, through a long 
season, he made Saul of Tarsus a living personality, 
and the coasts of the Mediterranean as familiar to 
them as Cape Cod Bay. He illustrated his instruc- 
tion by crayon sketches in color, and the scholars 
saw how Gamaliel's pupils were grouped about their 
master's feet; they knew how a man should adjust his 
phylactery; and though there were derision of the 
High Priest's countenance, there was no confusing 
the style of his breast-plate with that of a centurion. 
As he aged, the good pastor became something of a 
recluse. He loved his books, and through the years 
amassed in his little study a collection that was typi- 
cal of the best in his day and generation, with a queer 
alien blot now and then: for it was said that he could 
never resist the blandishments of the canvasser and 
the appeal of the book in his hand. Dying, he left his 
treasure intact to the village library; nor did he see 
the necessity for any such stipulation as old John 
Lothrop's that his books were only for those who 
knew how to use them. 

The temporal affairs of these good men not infre- 
quently needed mending, nor, as time went on, were 
the clergy usually recruited from among the natives: 
Cape Cod men, pursuing their vocations by land and 
sea, were likely to depute to aliens the less lucrative 
cure of souls. Versatile Mr. Avery, of Truro, seems to 



THE COUNTY 287 

have come out well in the struggle and to have be- 
queathed a tidy fortune to his heirs. But Jonathan 
Russell and Timothy Alden, as we have seen, needed 
to have a care to their firewood; and Oakes Shaw, the 
successor of Russell and father of the great chief jus- 
tice, even had recourse to the constable to adjust the 
arrears of his stipend. Mrs. Shaw, debating with her 
son his choice of a profession, was betrayed into some 
ironical appreciation of the clergy which she was 
quick to regret. "I hope you will not mistake your 
talent," wrote she. "I could name several that took 
upon them the sacred profession of divinity, this pro- 
fession so far from regulating their conduct, that their 
conduct would have disgraced a Hottentot. Others 
we have seen in various professions who have been an 
ornament to the Christian religion. I was not aware 
till I had just finished the last sentence that you 
might construe it into a discouragement of entering 
upon the study of divinity. This is not my intention, 
for I do most sincerely hope that you will make it 
your study through life whether you ever preach it or 
not." 

Her son chose the law, and gave us one of the two 
great men, both of them lawyers, whom the Cape 
has produced. Palfrey quotes one who went so far 
as to affirm that "no spot has made such a gift to 
the country as Great Marshes in Barnstable." There 
lived James Otis, chief justice of the Court of Common 
Pleas in the troubled times of the Revolution, and 
there James Otis the patriot was born. James Otis, the 
younger, when he grew to maturity, removed to Bos- 



288 OLD CAPE COD 

ton, but he may be counted a son of the Old Colony 
and an inheritor of its genius. He was far more than 
a fiery orator whose eloquence was the inspiration 
of other men's work; but on a flood of enthusiasm 
induced by that eloquence he was carried into the 
House of Representatives. "Out of this election will 
arise a damned faction/* commented a royalist judge, 
"which will shake this province to its foundation." 
His prediction fell ludicrously short of the event. 
Otis conducted the patriots' cause with such "pru- 
dence and fortitude, at every sacrifice of personal in- 
terest and amidst unceasing persecution/* that the 
"History of the Supreme Court of Massachusetts " 
can declare that: "Constitutional government in 
America, so far as it is expressed in writing, developed 
largely from the ideas expressed by James Otis and 
the Massachusetts men who framed the Constitution 
of 1780." 

And the man who more than any other in Massa- 
chusetts was to perfect their work, who stands beside 
the great Marshall in the history of American ju- 
risprudence, and by the wise decisions of a temper- 
ate mind established the flow of justice through the 
channel of the common law, was also a native of Great 
Marshes. There, in 1781, when the work of the earlier 
patriots was accomplished, Lemuel Shaw was born. 
Slowly, irresistibly, by sheer force of worth and capac- 
ity, he advanced to fame. He was graduated from 
Harvard, he entered the law, and for twenty-six years 
practised his profession in Boston. At one time and 
another he served in the General Court, he was fire- 



THE COUNTY 289 

warden, selectman, a member of tlie school commit- 
tee, and of the constitutional convention of 1820; and 
in 1830, when he was appointed chief justice of the 
Supreme Judicial Court, his sane inheritance, his 
tempered judgment, his wide experience of law and of 
men, had forged a mind perfectly adapted to his op- 
portunity. In his thirty years upon the bench^he en- 
riched incalculably the sparse records of the common 
law. In the opinion of a fellow jurist, "The distinguish- 
ing characteristic of his judicial work was the applica- 
tion of the general principles of law, by a virile and 
learned mind, with a statesman's breadth of vision 
and amplitude of wisdom to the novel conditions 
presented by a rapidly changing civilization/ 5 The 
Pilgrims had brought here and practised the Anglo- 
Saxon conception of such freedom as is commensurate 
with justice to all. "They brought along with them 
their national genius," wrote Saint John de Creve- 
coeur in his "Letters from an American Farmer/' in 
1782, "to which they principally owe what liberty 
they enjoy, and what substance they possess/ 5 It 
was the great American jurists who developed and 
adapted that conception of justice for the due guid- 
ance of the new nation. 

Shaw lived in Boston, but, unlike James Otis, he 
never gave up his hold upon his native town. He 
loved the village roads and Great Marshes and the 
sea. And, curiously, as if again the magic of the sea's 
charm persisted in the fortunes of its children, Shaw's 
daughter married Herman Melville, the author of 
"Typee" and "Omoo." Shaw was fond of children, 



290 OLD CAPE COD 

and used to drive his little granddaughter about 
Boston in his old chaise; there is a story of his being 
caught by a visitor at a game of bear with the chil- 
dren. But he could be stern enough on the bench; and 
a sharp practitioner, complaining of his severity, was 
tartly reminded by a fellow lawyer that "while we 
have jackals and hyenas at the bar, we want the old 
lion on the bench with one blow of his huge paw to 
bring their scalps about their eyes." 

Shaw spoke again and again at local celebrations 
on the Cape. At one such banquet he might have pro- 
posed, or answered, the toast to "Cape Cod Our 
Home: The first to honor the Pilgrim ship, the first 
to receive the Pilgrim feet; the first and always the 
dearest in the memory of her children everywhere." 
But it was at Yarmouth that he expressed best, per- 
haps, the loyalties of his great heart: "There is not 
one visitor here male or female whose heart is not 
penetrated with the deep and endearing sentiment, at 
once joyous and sad, which makes up the indescrib- 
able charm of home." 



CHAPTER XI 
GENIUS LOCI 

I 

OTIS and Shaw were great, and the qualities that 
made them so, particularly those of Shaw, were in- 
digenous to the soil. It is interesting to look through 
a book like Freeman's "Cape Cod/' and study there 
the portraits of the men who built this unique com- 
munity. They are often singularly handsome, with a 
fine, well-bred, upstanding air. They, preeminently, 
are not villagers, but men of the world who know 
their world well and have considered its works. Per- 
haps in every face, whether it has beauty of line or the 
homely ruggedness graved by generations of positive 
character, the dominant feature is a certain poise of 
mind: these men would think, and then judge; they 
would look at you straight, and it would be difficult 
for you to conceal your purpose. It would be easier to 
be persuaded than to persuade them; and in the end 
it is probable that your yielding would be justified 
in wisdom. From such characters could be drawn a 
composite that might fitly be the genius loci; and lest 
its secret charm elude us and Cape Cod appear no 
more than a pleasing sandy offshoot of New England, 
we should do well to learn of him. He is, as we see 
him, in essence a follower of the sea: one who pursues 
romance to mould it to everyday use. For a closer 
aspect it may be convenient to place him in the 



OLD CAPE COD 

eighteen-forties, or earlier, at latest the fifties, in the 
great days of the clippers. 

On the old sailing-vessel there was a constant duel, 
to challenge the temper of him, between a man's wit 
and the lambent will of the sea. And although the 
steamship has a romance and daring of its own a 
puny hull that carries forth upon the waters a little 
flare of flame to wage the old warfare it was with 
sails aloft and no wires from shore that a lad then, 
who had the gift of using the decisive moment, would 
best find a career. The master of a ship was master in 
the markets ashore, and there, or afloat, he must be 
quick to seize fortune as it came. It is said of such 
a one that "he had the air, as he had the habit, of 
success/* He was no reckless adventurer, but aimed 
to earn an honest living as soberly as any stay-at- 
home, for whom, and also, perhaps, for fishermen on 
the Banks, he may have had some easy condescen- 
sion. He was the aristocrat of the sea. When adven- 
ture met him by the way, so much the better if young 
blood ran hot; but the majority were shrewd cool 
merchants who sold and bought where their judg- 
ment pointed them. They were expert in seamanship 
because that was one of the tools of their trade; and 
when they turned a tidy profit on some voyage, they 
bought shares in the ships they sailed, or others, in- 
vesting in a business whose every turn was familiar to 
them, until they could leave the sea to become farm- 
ers, or ship-chandlers, or East India merchants. If 
the seaman founded a house in the city, he sent his 
boys to college, and took one or two of them into his 



GENIUS LOCI 293 

office to train them as merchants; and in not many 
decades the same absorbing hazard of trade was to 
be carried on by other means, or, if by ocean traffic, 
"steam-kettle sailors" were servants of the counting- 
rooms ashore. 

But our genius loci, who was familiar with the cities 
of the world, chose for his home the town where he 
was born. When fortune warranted, he married a 
wife, and built in the village a house that was adorned, 
voyage after voyage, with a gradual store of treas- 
ures from Europe and the East. His women-folk wore 
the delicate tissues of foreign looms, and managed 
the farm when he was away, and practised intellectu- 
alities; they cooked, sewed, painted, accomplished a 
dozen small arts with exquisite care. They were ready 
for the relaxations of society when ships made port, 
and the village swung to the tune of a larger world. 
The seafarer loved them with a reticence called for by 
the custom of the day, and with a tender chivalry 
that might be the envy of any time. 

There is a pretty story of one old captain men 
commanded their ships at twenty and were old at 
forty whose treasure was a little daughter. She had 
a maimed foot that must undergo a cruel cure, and 
for a bribe she had been promised dancing-lessons, 
the dearest wish of her childish heart. Her ordeal 
passed, the captain kept faith with her. Through a 
long winter, while he waited for his ship, in starlight 
or snow he set the child upon his shoulder and bore 
her to the hall where the old fiddler taught the boys 
and girls their steps, and there danced with her, 



294 OLD CAPE COD 

envied because of such attendance, until the foot 
grew strong and she, who had been shy from the mis- 
fortune that had marked her difference in the chil- 
dren's world, blossomed into the merriest little jade 
of all the company. 

And for him, all the watery highways he must 
travel were only the road to lead him home. There, 
his adventure achieved, he lived healthily upon the 
produce of his farm; poverty, the city kinsman was 
ready to aver, his only fault. But he had more than 
enough for the life he had chosen; his manners were 
as polished and his speech as fine as if he trod the 
pavement instead of driving about his beloved country 
roads he had paced too many miles of deck to walk 
a rod ashore. He had rich memories, and discrimina- 
tion in choosing the elements essential to happiness. 
What should a man need more? And when the end 
came, and in the graveyard with an outlook to blue 
water from the hillside where the willows drooped 
low, he lay beside her whom he loved best, the epitaph 
there might be, for her: "During a long life she per- 
formed all her duties with fidelity and zeal, and died in 
the triumph of Christian faith and resignation." And 
for him : "His integrity of character gave him an hon- 
orable distinction among his fellow citizens : his private 
virtues endeared him to all: his end was peace." 

H 

WE do well, now and again, to make friends with 
another time than our own; and by good fortune some 
of us, then, may find a path to the Cape of pines and 




8 

B 



GENIUS LOCI 295 

dunes where lay a township recreated for us in twilight 
stories by the nursery fire. Here peaked-roof houses 
look out over "the lilac trees which bear no fruit but 
a pleasant smell/* willow and silvery poplars meet 
above the road, and here genial spirits populate the 
brave old time days when deep-water sailors 
hailed the little town as home, and women, demure, 
pure-faced, neat-footed, kept the houses as spotless 
as their hearts. 

From month on to month, the village might have 
been a colony forsworn by world and men; but when 
the Flying Cloud or Halcyon made port, it brimmed 
with life eager to have its due before next sailing-day. 
From the cap Vs mansion on Main Street to the low- 
eaved house whose oldest son swung his hammock in 
the f oVs'le, doors opened with an easy welcome. This 
home had sent a mate, that a cabin boy, another 
would never see again the brave fellow who had been 
lost off Mozambique. They had been as sons to the 
"old man," who on the planks of his ship was patri- 
arch or despot as character should determine; but 
now all were equal by the freemasonry of home. Sea- 
chests gave up their treasure, and bits of ebony and 
jade were added to mantel curios, an ivory junk 
spread its crimson sail beside the Tower of Pisa, a 
spirited portrait of the Leviathan entering the port 
of Malaga was hung opposite the waxen survival of 
Aunt Jane's funeral wreath. And in shaded parlors 
the fragrance of sandalwood and attar-of-rose and 
the spicy odor of lacquer mingled with the breath of 
syringa wafted in from the garden. 



296 OLD CAPE COD 

Then there was an interchange of high festivities 
among the capVs families when French china, lat- 
ticed with gold, set off Belfast damask, and the silver 
tea-service, which Cap'n Jason had brought from 
Russia in '36, stood cheek by jowl with East Indian 
condiment and English glass. Amid the rustle of 
lustrous satin and silk the guests gathered about the 
board, and cups were stood in cup-plates while tea 
was sipped from saucers poised in delicately crooked 
fingers. Conversation swung easily around the world, 
from adventures in the Spanish Main to a dinner at 
"Melbun" on the English barque whose captain 
they had greeted in every harbor of the globe where 
trade was good; and they recalled with Homeric jest 
the ball at Singapore when many friendly ships rode 
at anchor in the bay. 

But it was on a Sunday that the town blossomed as 
sweetly as any rose in June, when wives and sweet- 
hearts, in silks and fairy penas and wraps heavy with 
patient embroideries of the East, made their way to 
the village church where a second mate led the hymns 
with his flute and the cap'n droned after on a viol. 
"There is a land mine eye hath seen" swelled into a 
joyous chorus of treble and rumbling bass, while men 
thought of the sultry day at Surinam when they had 
longed for the "blissful shores" of home. And as the 
parson made his prayer for "those who go down to the 
sea in ships," they pitied the poor fellows whose guide- 
post was a compass as cheerfully as if they themselves 
were to dare no perils greater than the Big Channel 
in the bay. Church over, the road was aflutter with 



GENIUS LOCI 297 

rainbow color. And sunburnt beaux in tight white 
trousers, blue coats, agonizing stocks, and top-hats 
rakishly a-tilt, peered under the arc of leghorn bon- 
nets where moss-rosebuds nestled against smoothly 
banded hair, while beneath his surtout and her man- 
tilla or pelisse the hearts beat out their mating-tune. 

in 

ALL of us have our land of refuge: for one it is a 
town, or a house endeared by its remembered atmos- 
phere of simplicity and health; another needs but to 
cross the threshold of a room where sits the being who 
has been the best friend of every year; a third has 
only the land of dreams to people at his will. And one 
refreshes the ideals of his youth, perhaps, or seeks to 
wipe out with forgetfulness the scar of some old sin; 
others, faint with terror for the fate of ships that drift 
in black seas of hate and lust, find the comfort of 
cleared vision and steadier brain. 

The nation has its land of renewal in the genius of 
our fathers. Those early Pilgrims, the first immigrants, 
had by nature the spirit of democracy. They recog- 
nized what one man owes another: they were "tied to 
all care of each other's good." They were prepared for 
growth and change. With good John Robinson, they 
kept an open mind, nor did they believe that God had 
" revealed his whole will to them." " It is not possible," 
they held, "that full perfection of knowledge should 
break forth all at once." For their Fundamentals, 
they took over the best body of law that the time 
afforded, but with no rigid mind: they adapted and 



298 OLD CAPE COD 

added to the law of their fathers with a flexibility that 
gave genuine freedom to men of their day and prom- 
ised freedom to the future. The laws they passed were 
calculated to ensure a man's loyalty, and to help him 
live straight. "Government exists that men may live 
in happy homes," might have been their dictum. They 
were entirely human: they enjoyed the free life of the 
open, and feasting, and the sober perfection of their 
dress; they liked a fair fight and no favor; they liked 
best of all a man's job, and labored unswervingly to 
bring to pass their ideal of what life should be. Their 
feet were on the ground, and they exulted in the fact 
that their vision reached beyond the clouds. If it be 
true that "no country can escape the implication of 
the ideas upon which it was founded/ 5 it were well 
that our feet should be set on that same ground of 
vigorous simplicity and faith, our vision, though with 
another aspect than theirs, reach above the clouds. 
They passed on an inheritance of sane and clear and 
just thought that we should do well to use: that, and 
belief in the progressive revelation of truth. And by 
happy chance the spot they chose for home New 
England, Plymouth, the dunes and meadows of the 
Cape typifies their very spirit: the homely beauty, 
the invigorating atmosphere, the health of salt winds 
and- cleansing of the sea. 



THE END 



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CAMBRIDGE . MASSACHUSETTS 
U . S . A 



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Southacfcfs Map - 



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